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Hospitals in tight financial spot due to unpaid PhilHealth claims, says group

THE PHILIPPINE Hospital Association on Wednesday said members are in a tight financial spot due to unpaid claims from the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) for coronavirus patients since the start of the pandemic.

“This is now causing severe financial distress to private hospitals as well as the government hospitals,” the association’s president, Jaime A. Almora, told a Senate economic affairs committee hearing on the status of government measures for industries hit hard by the pandemic.

Mr. Almora did not give an estimated total amount of the receivables from PhilHealth, but he cited one hospital with a P1.2 billion claim, while others ranging between P50 million to P700 million.

The group has 1,986 member hospitals, both government-run and private.

He said PhilHealth has only been paying for claims on non-coronavirus cases.

He noted that the number of non-coronavirus patients has decreased by as much as 50% to 70%, which means a reduction in the income of hospitals.

“They (hospitals) have to dig into their savings, and they have to borrow from the bank. Some hospitals who have called already informed me that they have borrowed from the bank for their operating budget,” Mr. Almora said.

Following a meeting with PhilHealth President Dante A. Gierran on April 5, the hospital group’s head said the agency came out with a circular on the debit-credit payment mechanism, which covers 60% of claims under evaluation.

The scheme covers private hospitals in Metro Manila and the surrounding provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, which were placed under stricter lockdown due to a surge in coronavirus cases.

Mr. Almora said some hospitals have already applied for the scheme and received some amount “which they consider small.”

Senator Maria Imelda Josefa R. Marcos, chair of the committee, said they can ask PhilHealth officials to attend in upcoming hearings. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

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