Credit to Author: Red Mendoza| Date: Thu, 22 Oct 2020 06:37:50 +0000
THE Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) isn’t ready to pay the Philippine Red Cross just yet even as the Department of Health (DoH) admitted that its suspension of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) testing to overseas and returning Filipino workers has severely affected the country’s overall screening capacity.
The PRC suspended processing swab tests to those covered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), which included OFW’s, returning Filipinos, and those who fall under the DoH’s guidelines on expanded testing after it amassed P930 million in debt.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the DoH has recognized PRC’s contribution to the country’s daily laboratory output for tests, which contributes to at least 38 percent of the overall testing capacity in Metro Manila alone.
“We were affected by the stopping of the [tests by the] Philippine Red Cross,” Vergeire told reporters in a media briefing.
To resolve the backlogs, the DoH has identified laboratories to take over the samples that will not be accepted by the PRC, which include 11 government hospitals and some private laboratories.
“We are now coordinating with these laboratories so that we would be able to include them in this zoning na ginawa natin para hindi po tayo nagkakaroon ng delays sa ating laboratories. (that we made so we won’t have delays in our laboratories), ” Vergeire said.
PhilHealth said, however, that it would first secure a legal opinion from the Department of Justice (DoJ) before it proceeds with the payment of its debt to PRC.
In a statement, PhilHealth said that while it has the funds to pay PRC, it needs to have “proper legal guidance on how to proceed with its payment”.
The state health insurer has also requested for more patience and understanding from those affected as it ensures all of its members that funds are handled and disbursed while it moves forward with the partnership with the proper legal support. PhilHealth’s statement comes as Malacanang assured that the government would pay at least 50 percent of the state insurer’s debt to PRC and then negotiate the terms of the balance.