DAVAO CITY, Philippines – An official of the Southern Philippine Medical Center in a statement refuted claims that the hospital is engaged in anomalies on the use of the P326 million reimbursement from PhilHealth for Covid-19 patients.
SPMC Officer in charge Dr. Ricardo Audan clarified that the Internal Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM) released from PhilHealth followed regulations and no favoritism or corruption was involved.
PhilHealth is embroiled in corruption charges among its officials involving the IRM funds, and during a Senate hearing, a former PhilHealth auditor revealed the SPMC and another Mindanao state hospital, Davao Regional Medical Center in Tagum topped the list of reimbursements for Covid-19 treatment.
PhilHealth said in a statement that SPMC is the largest government hospital with a 1,500-bed capacity, and caters to patients outside of Davao region.
Audan also said that the IRM is used for other health services for indigents.
“SPMC is the biggest hospital not only for Davao City but for the whole of Mindanao. IRM is not solely for Covid-19 treatment but also includes other healthcare services such as chemotherapy, dialysis, even maternity benefits”, Audan said.
Audan said that their historical data showed SPMC topped the Philhealth contribution in 2007 among private and public hospitals in the country and the only hospital to have reached a billion mark in 2015 in terms of Philhealth reimbursement.
A PhilHealth circular explains that Internal Reimbursement Mechanism is a measure provided by the agency to healthcare institutions with emergency funds during unforeseen events like natural disasters, calamities, and other fortuitous events.
Meanwhile, a health rights advocate, Dr. Gene Nisperos from Community Medicine Development Foundation, clarified funding of government hospitals from PhilHealth should not be jeopardized over the course of the probe on PhilHealth.
“All of these are public, government-run hospitals, and all cater to poor, indigent patients. All are currently Covid referral hospitals. Most importantly, almost all have been underfunded for decades yet continue to serve with a high level of service and care,” Nisperos said in his statement on his Facebook account.
“These things matter because if PhilHealth is to be true to its mandate, then these are the very hospitals that SHOULD BE receiving funds and their patients should be subsidized MORE. They deserve nothing less.”
“Corruption in Philhealth has long been an issue. The Department of Health cannot wash its hands of this because it has been remiss in much of its regulatory functions, leaving Phil health to do things that should have been the purview of the DOH,” he added.
The other hospitals topping the list of IRM disbursements for Covid-19 patients are: The University of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital in Manila with P263.3 million; Davao Regional Medical Center in Tagum City with P209 million; Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City with P204 million; and, Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital in the City of San Fernando with P201 million
As of August 14, Philhealth said it will suspend the IRM and review its implementation. (davaotoday.com)