The University of Santo Tomas (UST) Hospital on May 5 apologized to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) over a May 3 statement claiming the latter had P180 million in unpaid reimbursements in 2019.

“[T]here was no intention on our part to put your corporation on the spot. The hospital statement was a reply to repeated questions of the Varsitarian regarding manpower reduction strategies which involved certain employees,” hospital director Dr. Marcellus Francis Ramirez’s letter to PhilHealth read.

Ramirez said he only wanted to “emphasize the financial challenges” that led the hospital to lay off some of its employees, and accused the Varsitarian, UST’s student paper, of “hyping up” and “blowing the issue out of proportion.”

In a May 5 interview on DZMM, PhilHealth President and CEO Ricardo Morales said the health insurance agency’s accountants found no data that could support UST Hospital’s claim.

On May 4, Fr. Napoleon Sipalay, head of the Filipino Dominicans who run UST, held the hospital’s downsizing “in abeyance” until a review by the board of trustees on May 20.

The UST student paper first reported that the hospital had laid off some non-frontliner workers amid mounting losses, with a statement from Ramirez saying the P180 million PhilHealth collectible contributed to its financial struggles. John Ezekiel J. Hirro