Escudero urges: PhilHealth to pay hospitals claims

By Mar S. Arguelles


Sorsogon Gov. Francis Chiz Escudero on Tuesday, Dec. 28, urged the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to immediately resolve the unpaid claims of the increasing number of private and tertiary hospitals as he expressed alarmed over their recent disengagement from the national health insurance agency due to hundreds of millions of pesos in unsettled obligations.


Escudero in a press statement has called on PhilHealth, the agency which oversees the country’s National Health Insurance Program (NHIP), to immediately resolve the unpaid claims to prevent the disengagement of more hospitals and build confidence in the agency ability to run the insurance program, which is essential to affordable health care in the country.


“How can you provide universal health care when you have more and more hospitals giving up their PhilHealth accreditation? This is going to hurt our implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act, because private hospitals are integral to a functional health service provider network, especially in municipalities and cities where there are no public tertiary hospitals,” he said.


At least 10 major hospitals, seven in Iloilo and three in Metro Manila, have announced that they are cutting ties with PhilHealth for the latter’s failure to settle theirs claims amounting to some P745 million


The seven major hospitals in Iloilo said that they are cutting ties with PhilHealth because of unpaid claims amounting to a total amount P545 million. These are the Iloilo Directors’ Hospital, Iloilo Mission Hospital, Medicus Medical Center, Metro Iloilo Hospital and Medical Center Inc., St. Paul’s Hospital of Iloilo, The Medical City-Iloilo, and Qualimed Hospital-Iloilo.


In Metro Manila, the Far Eastern University-Dr. Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation (FEU-NRMF) became the first private hospital to declare that it will no longer renew its accreditation with PhilHealth beginning 2022 because of over P200 million in unpaid claims.


The Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. warned that more hospitals in Quezon, Isabela, and General Santos are planning to disengage from PhilHealth for unpaid claims as well, which means more patients across the country are expected to pay their bills in full and just seek reimbursement.


“PhilHealth must find a way to pay the legitimate claims of accredited health facilities. It is given the budget to perform its mandate—to ensure affordable, acceptable, available, and accessible health care services through health insurance coverage for all. This is at the center of health reforms in the UHC Act,” Escudero said.