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Hontiveros seeks probe into PhilHealth payment of 'ghost' kidney treatments

MANILA, Philippines – Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros sought an investigation into funds of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) which were supposedly used to pay a dialysis center that claimed benefits for “ghost patients.”

Hontiveros said there was a need to investigate PhilHealth, considering the company would be responsible for the recently signed Universal Health Care Law. (EXPLAINER: What Filipinos can expect from the Universal Health Care Law)

“The funds under our national health insurance program are supposed to empower our people especially the poor and bring them closer to affordable and effective healthcare. Any misuse of these funds is a betrayal of this vital mission, and must be stopped,” Hontiveros said. 

In an Inquirer.net report, WellMed Dialysis & Laboratory Center Corporation former employee Edwin Roberto revealed that PhilHealth approved and released payments for dialysis treatments of “ghost patients” or dead patients. 

Roberto said the collection of payments was not only for dead patients, but also for patients who had yet to complete their treatments. He added that claims were made from dialysis packages even though other treatments were performed. 

Hontiveros said the supposed scheme robbed patients who would have benefited from the treatments. 

“The gravity of the recent allegations should prompt government to check if every peso under the PhilHealth is indeed being used in a manner compliant with the law and PhilHealth’s mandate,” she said. 

PhilHealth Acting President Roy Ferrer said the company has already filed charges against the treatment center.

Under the Universal Health Care Law, more funds will be pooled toward PhilHealth to cover all Filipinos’ health services. It takes charge of paying health care providers like hospitals and clinics for service given to patients. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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