Sunday, April 24, 2016

Garin admits PhilHealth standby fund low

LEGAZPI CITY, April 23 (PNA) -- Health Secretary Janette Garin has admitted that the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) reserve fund has depleted due to fraudulent claims and huge amounts of collectibles pending with the Department of Budget and Management.

Garin, however, said the problem was being addressed and corrective financial measures had been instituted.

In an interview Thursday, she said the social health insurance provider was checking it closely and apprehending and filing cases against persons and hospitals with questionable or fraudulent claims which, according to her, indeed affect the reserve fund of PhilHealth.

When asked if the DBM should also be blamed for the delay in replenishing the billions of funds paid to hospitals' claims for millions of seniors citizens, she said the agency was overhauling the master list of bonafide members -- including the names of senior citizens enrolled with PhilHealth.

PhilHealth records indicate that there are 6 million senior citizens across the country that are enrolled as lifetime insurance beneficiaries.

“It is partially true that there was a delay in the replenishment of funds by the DBM, but the problem was the agency could not present to the DBM as a requirement the list of names of senior citizens that benefited to program,” Garin said.

She said the data base problem have been the situation six months ago.

“This was the problem when I assumed office,” she added.

Earlier, Dr. Eddie Dorotan, PhilHealth Board member, said the agency reserve fund this year would only be good for ten months due to billions spent to cover claims for millions of senior citizens and the delay by the DBM to replenish billions of funds used to pay hospital claims.

Dorotan said it lost Php1 billion last year after it spent Php97 billion for payment claims while it only received Php96 billion in contributions.

To prevent the financial strain in its reserve, the PhilHealth has to maintain a two-year reserve funds of at least Php100 billion which when used should be immediately reimbursed by the DBM.

The deficit was attributed to the Php10 billion spent to cover claims for millions of senior citizens, he said.

In Bicol, PhilHealth has spent Php3.5 billions for claims while it only earned Php980 million in collection.

As this developed, Garin turned over hundreds of medical equipment under the Department of Health (DOH) “TseKap” program to various Rural Health Units-Barangay Health Stations (RHU/BHS) in the provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Masbate and Catanduanes.

In Albay, Garin was assisted by Albay Gov. Joey Salceda and City Mayor Noel Rosal in turning over Php3.8 million worth of medical equipment to 207 RHU/BHS in a ceremony at the Divine Word College Gymnasium on Thursday.

The medical equipment is composed of two non-contact thermometers, stethoscope, digital BP apparatus, glucometer set, two nebulizers and wound dressing set.

DOH data reveal that the agency is spending some Php700 million for the purchase of TseKap medical equipment for distribution nationwide.

On the dengue vaccination program, Garin said, it has covered 200,000 grade 4 elementary public school pupils in the National Capital Region, Central Luzon and Calabarzon.

Another 50,000 pupils enrolled in private schools.

She said the DOH would also include Central Visayas in the program due to the rising dengue cases there.(PNA) RMA/FGS/MSA/CBD/PJN