Drilon calls for PhilHealth’s top-to-bottom reorganization

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon (File photo)

MANILA – Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon on Wednesday called for a top-to-bottom reorganization of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

Drilon made this call as he welcomed President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s decision to finally let go of PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Officer Ricardo Morales amid corruption allegations involving the implementation of the Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM).

“It is a welcome development. However, as long as the general structure of the corporation remains the same, corruption will continue,” Drilon said in a statement. “What PhilHealth needs now is a top-to-bottom cleansing in order to get rid of individuals who used PhilHealth as their personal ATM. Sa gitna ng pandemya, ginawa nilang personal na bangko ang PhilHealth (Amid pandemic, they make PhilHealth as personal bank).”

The minority leader said he proposed to the Committee of the Whole to authorize Duterte to reorganize PhilHealth.

“The long history of corruption within the corporation, across all levels, may be addressed by passing a law that would authorize the President to reorganize PhilHealth. This reorganization must be accompanied by a well-studied reorganization plan,” Drilon said.

He said only the most competent and honest people should be appointed to PhilHealth.

“Please do not appoint scalawags or people who turn a blind eye to corruption. We need people who have zero tolerance for corruption,” he added.

Drilon said the government should observe the “fit and proper” rule in appointing officials to PhilHealth.

“The fit and proper rule should be strictly applied. The officials must be chosen based on their integrity, experience, education, training, and competence, among others,” Drilon said.

Citing Section 5e of the GOCC Governance Act (RA 10149), Drilon said the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG), as the governing body for government corporations, must actively and decisively perform its mandate as a central advisory, monitoring, and oversight body of PhilHealth.

Drilon said the GCG should identify the necessary skills and qualifications required for appointive directors to the PhilHealth, and consider the suitability and qualifications of the candidates before submitting its recommendations to the President.

He likewise urged PhilHealth to upgrade its system in order to eliminate corruption.

“The use of information technology (IT) in the healthcare industry is known to promote efficiency and reliability in the delivery of healthcare services. PhilHealth should simply outsource to a reputable company the provision of its IT services,” Drilon said.

Outsourcing services, like the development and provision of reliable electronic health records and analytics systems, specifically for membership data information collection and membership service, will enable PhilHealth to focus on expanding its operational reach, improving its benefit packages and accreditation mechanisms, according to Drilon.

Another service that must be contracted out, he added, is the processing of PhilHealth’s benefits claim to avoid backlogs and massive reimbursement-delays.

“This would simplify the reimbursement process, remove red-tape, and address corruption,” he said.

Drilon had earlier said corruption in PhilHealth is a grim reminder that not even a pandemic can stop corrupt practices from taking place, adding that corrupt mind knows no limits.

He said the anti-corruption stance of the administration suffered a huge blow due to corruption in PhilHealth, which was unearthed during Senate investigations.

“We expect charges to be filed against those who will be proven to have misused public funds allotted for the campaign against Covid-19. The President should make an example of the PhilHealth: jail those who misused public funds through the Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM) and other schemes,” Drilon said. (PR)

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