By Ellson Quismorio
The government ought to move against the fraudsters who licked the coffers of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) dry to the detriment of genuine patients in need.
Thus, said Surigao del Sur 2nd district Rep. Johnny Pimentel on Wednesday, noting that “sharks are circling PhilHealth because it is clearly vulnerable, plus it has the money.”
It had been reported that PhilHealth lost as much as P154 billion in funds since 2013 through the bogus kidney dialysis of ghost patients. This has robbed indigent patients the chance to avail of the treatment.
“Those scamming PhilHealth are easily 10 times more likely to be cheating on their taxes as well,” said Pimentel, one-time chairman of the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability.
He said these claims of fraud should be investigated right away by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
Pimentel also urged the state-run PhilHealth to reinforce its risk controls against bogus claims.
“There will always be people trying to defraud PhilHealth. Thus, PhilHealth should develop a robust system to quickly spot and nip these rackets in the bud,” Pimentel said.
Congress has given PhilHealth another P67.4 billion this year to carry out the National Health Insurance Program, according to the Mindanao solon.
“Of course, the best way to fight these scammers is to prosecute them and put them all behind bars. PhilHealth should also refer all fraud cases to the BIR for appropriate action,” Pimentel said.
Earlier, a private healthcare provider in Quezon City was found routinely claiming PhilHealth payments for dialysis procedures on dead patients.
Pimentel recalled that in 2015, PhilHealth officials also told a Senate hearing that several eye care centers were found seeking unusually large payments for cataract surgery.
The company later discovered that the centers were actually soliciting and deceiving people into undergoing supposed cataract removal procedures, without their informed consent and even if they were not seeking treatment. (Ellson A. Quismorio)