The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) said it has enough funds to pay its debts to hospitals amid complaints that the agency has existing debts amounting to billions of pesos. 

“PhilHealth reiterates its commitment to pay its obligations to its partner hospitals,” the agency said in a statement.

“It has sufficient funds to fulfill its obligations,” it said.

Philippine Hospital Association president Dr. Jaime Almora said during a Senate hearing last Wednesday that private and public hospitals were forced to use their savings and borrow funds from banks to sustain their operations because PhilHealth failed to pay the claims for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases since March 2020. 

Almora explained that the huge chunk of unpaid debts to the hospitals are already “causing severe financial distress” to all the medical institutions involved. 

PhilHealth spokesperson Shirley Domingo replied that the delay in payment of claims was due to its less manpower because some of their employees are under medical treatment and isolation for Covid-19 exposure. 

As of May 17, 2021, PhilHealth has paid a total of P25.38 billion in claims. P.88 billion of the said amount are allotted for Covid-19-related claims. 

“Recognizing the need of the hospitals for funds especially in highly critical areas for COVID as identified by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Infectious Diseases, PhilHealth has introduced the Debit-Credit Payment Method  (DCPM) wherein 60% of good ‘in process claims’ are paid outright to qualified hospitals minus 2% withholding tax, while the remaining 40% shall  be paid after claims processing and reconciliation, minus 2% withholding tax,” the state health insurer said.

“The accelerated payment method provides hospitals sufficient cash flow to continue providing the sick with quality health care during the pandemic,” it added. Ronald Espartinez