By Hannah Torregoza
A neurologist in South Cotabato is now being investigated after authorities discovered he is collecting insurance claims from the Philippine Health Insurance or PhilHealth fraudulently.
Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, chair of the Senate committee on health and demography, made this assurance after Senate President Vicente Sotto III raised the matter about a certain Dr. Mark Dennis Menguita during the Senate’s deliberation into PhilHealth’s proposed budget for 2019.
According to Sotto, Menguita, a doctor based in Koronadal City, was collecting money from PhilHealth fraudulently in connivance with some PhilHealth officials in Region 12.
Part of the modus of the said neurologist was to seek for legitimate PhilHealth members to be his patient so he can collect medical insurance from the agency.
“This doctor will connive with the hospital where he is affiliated with, particularly St. Louis Hospital, Allah Valley Medical Specialist Hospital, Inc., Arturo Pinggoy Medical Center and St Louis Medical CL and Hospital in order to collect from Philhealth for the suppose expenses incurred by the hired Philhealth members,” Sotto said.
“The collected amount will then go to the neurologist’s pocket, his own pocket and maybe the hospital will get their share—fair share,” he further said.
Sotto pointed out an administrative case has been filed against the doctor and inquired on the status of the case.
PhilHealth officials, through Ejercito, confirmed that a fact-finding investigation has been launched against Menguita and on the hospitals allegedly in cahoots with the neurologist.
Ejercito said PhilHealth’s top officials are personally checking on the status of the case which is now pending in the regional level.
“Balita ko matapang daw ang duktor na ito? Tatapang pa ba siya kay (Sen.) Greg (Gregorio) Honasan? O kay (Sen.) Ping Lacson? (I heard this doctor is brave? Is he braver than Sen. Honasan or Sen. Ping Lacson?” said Sotto during his interpellation.
Ejercito, vice chair of the Senate finance committee, said that once the neurologist is found guilty of the allegations against him, his professional license would be revoked.
The government will also penalize the erring hospitals that connived with the doctor, Ejercito said.
“According to the PhilHealth head, cases are investigated first and if found guilty, the hospitals would be suspended and licenses may even be revoked and the doctor that is involved will have his PRC (Professional Regulation Commission) license revoked as well,” he said.