By Ben Rosario
The Commission on Audit has ordered the Lung Center of the Philippines to track down former patients whom it owes more P22 million in medical care refunds.
Otherwise, the LCP must return to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation the amount that remains unclaimed after the lapse of sixty days as prescribed by law.
In its 2018 annual audit report for the state-run specialty hospital, COA also chided hospital officials for failing to conduct a public bidding for the purchase of some P6.43 million worth of industrial and medical gases and liquid oxygen.
State auditors noted that the LCP violated COA Circular No. 76-41 when it resorted to splitting the requested gases, apparently to avoid conducting public bidding.
“Review of the disbursement vouchers covering payments from January to December 2018 showed that the industrial and medical gases worth P6.439 million were bought from only one/same supplier, in several instances, within the same period,” the audit report that was released last week revealed.
COA ordered the LCP management to stop the practice of splitting requisitions “to avoid public bidding and circumvent measures on procurement” mandated under Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Law.
Responding to the audit findings, the LCP management said bidding was overlooked “because of voluminous projects”. officials also pointed out that the materials procured from the supplier were sold at the same price tendered in 2015.
COA noted that the LCP financial records indicated that P28.058 million it received from Philhealth represented Philhealth Medicare Patients’ Refund (PMPR) that piled out from 2002 to 2018.
Of the amount, only P5.442 million or 19 percent was actually refunded to confined Philhealth members, with the remainder, around P22.616 million, still being held by LCP.
Auditors said the failure of LCP to give patients a refund of paid medical bills is a violation of Philhealth Circular NO. 42 even as it deprived patient-members of their benefit under the Medicare law.
COA asked the LCP to “exert all effots’ to make the necessary refund based on available records or return to Philhealth the unrefunded amount as required by the state-run medical insurance firm.
At the exit conference the LCP management assured COA of its compliance to the audit recommendation. Officials said personnel have already assigned to review the PMPR account