PhilHealth dismisses PHAPI threat

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    THE Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) yesterday dismissed a statement of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. (PHAPI) that hundreds of its members are set to cut ties with the government insurance agency because of its continued failure to pay claims.

    “They are mere empty boast, which we find strange and amusing. Individual hospital-members are saying a different thing. We believe PHAPI does not represent them,” said Ricardo Morales, PhilHealth president and chief executive officer.

    “I find it absurd that there will be hospitals that wouldn’t want to be accredited by PhilHealth. What we know from the ground is they want to get accredited,” he added.

    Morales also said it would be better for the private hospitals to directly coordinate with the PhilHealth on the unpaid claims.

    “Please do contact PhilHealth directly as we will not entertain any queries from PHAPI,” he said.

    Morales said he believes the supposed plan of some 600 private hospitals to cut ties with PhilHealth is only the “personal opinion” of PHAPI president Dr Rustico Jimenez, and “not of those hospitals.”

    PhilHealth said its recent actions against erring hospitals are meant to ensure providers will not defraud the agency. It issued the statement in response to a paid advertisement from an individual who claims to head a group of private hospitals alleging that several of its members in Mindanao were not given the opportunity to be heard in formal hearings of the cases filed against them.

    “Our legal procedures follow strict rules on due process when cases are filed against our providers. These hospitals were properly asked to explain their side on their alleged involvements in fraudulent activities,” Morales said in a statement. “Proper communications were also given so they can properly notify their patients of their situation.”

    “Many of his alleged member-hospitals disown his insinuations. I advise that he choose his words carefully in order not to compromise those who are in good standing and are in good partnership with PhilHealth,” Morales said.

    Last week, PhilHealth announced the withdrawal of accreditation privileges of the Dr Arturo P. Pingoy Medical Center and Allah Valley Medical Specialist Center Inc., and the suspension of General Santos Doctors Hospital due to alleged involvement in fraudulent activities, based on its policy of withdrawing accreditation if cases have been filed in its arbitration office.