Raps filed vs. WellMed, whistleblowers over ‘ghost dialysis’ scam » Manila Bulletin News

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Raps filed vs. WellMed, whistleblowers over ‘ghost dialysis’ scam

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By Jeffrey Damicog

A criminal complaint was filed Tuesday afternoon (June 11) against 10 persons including the whistleblowers and executives of WellMed Dialysis and Laboratory Center Corporation over their alleged involvement in the “ghost dialysis” scam.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte ordered the NBI to arrest the owners of WellMed Dialysis Center involved in the alleged “ghost dialysis” scam. The Well Med Dialysis Center in Novaliches, Quezon City. (ALVIN KASIBAN / MANILA BULLETIN)

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte ordered the NBI to arrest the owners of WellMed Dialysis Center involved in the alleged “ghost dialysis” scam. The Well Med Dialysis Center in Novaliches, Quezon City. (ALVIN KASIBAN / MANILA BULLETIN)

The complaint was filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) which accused the 10 respondents of estafa and falsification of public documents in violation of the Revised Penal Code.

Among the 10 respondents, three were arrested and presented for an inquest before the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Manila.

Those presented for the inquest were WellMed owner Dr. Bryan Christopher Sy and the two whistleblowers, namely, former WellMed employees Liezel Aileen Santos and Edwin Roberto.

The other respondents in the complaint are officials and employees of WellMed, namely, Dr. John Ray Gonzales, Claro Sy, Alvin Sy, Therese Francesca Tan, Dick Ong, Dr. Porsha Natividad, and Dr. Joemie Soriano.

Meanwhile, NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin defended the decision of NBI investigators to include the whistleblowers in the complaint.

“Because if we are going to use them later on as state witnesses then in the first place they will be criminally charged and later on we will file a motion to exclude them from the charges,” he explained to reporters.

The controversy stemmed from revelations made by Roberto Santos who claims that the facility has been filing false claims for bogus dialysis sessions using the names of dead patients.

PhilHealth pays for these claims as every Philhealth member is entitled to 90 free dialysis sessions a year.

The two whistleblowers, who both appeared at the NBI on Monday to give their statements, said they processed the claims at the instructions of WellMed owner Brian Sy.

“May proof rin po kami. Hindi po kami lumapit sa PhilHealth kung wala po kaming documentation (We have proof. We did not approach PhilHealth without documentation),” said Roberto who recounted that they first filed the complaint before PhilHealth after resigning from WellMed.

Santos added that they were also told by Sy to forge the signatures of the dead patients.

“Pinapakopya niya yun sa mga chart ng mga pasyente yung pirma tapos gagayahin namin. Papraktisin namin sa scratch (He asked us to copy the signatures in a chart which we forge after practicing),” she claimed.

They said that they don’t get shares from the claims which go directly to the pockets of WellMed.

“Lahat po ng tseke ay payable sa WellMed (All of the checks are payable to WellMed),” said Roberto.

However, Ilagan refuted the claims made by the former employees whom he said resigned after being caught by WellMed engaged in anomalies.

“Nag-send out kami ng demand letters (we sent out demand letters) January of 2019 requiring them to explain the irregularities that we found out,” he said.

The lawyer explained that dialysis patients will have to pay cash for treatments in excess of the 90.

Ilagan said it was found that some patients have paid Roberto and Santos in cash which the two former employees pocketed.

“To reconcile the records, they claim yung benefits dun sa sinasabi sa mga namatay na (of those already dead),” the lawyer pointed out.

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