THE Senate blue ribbon committee will investigate reports regarding an alleged scam involving some P2 billion in Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) funds on July 1.

The hearing will look into the claims of Health Secretary Janette Garin and PhilHealth President Alex Padilla that they have uncovered “highly suspicious” benefit payments to a number of accredited hospitals and clinics based on questionable claims.

Earlier, health officials said one eye center alone had filed a claim of close to P170 million last year, a 143-percent increase from what the clinic charged PhilHealth the previous year.

The health officials said PhilHealth ordered that the processing of the questionable claims be stopped pending investigation.

Senator Teofisto Guingona III, panel chair, said the alleged scam is alarming and calls for quick action on the part of the government and PhilHealth officials.

“We must get down to the bottom of these right away to ensure that the funds of PhilHealth are protected from unscrupulous parties,” Guingona said.

“I am angered by what appears to be an orchestrated and systematic effort to take advantage of PhilHealth. If the allegations are true, then, greed would have taken over a good program,” he added.

Guingona said the matter must be soon investigated as PhilHealth funds are “people’s money” because part of its funds come from members’ contributions and from government.

The senator said he was concerned that private sector hospitals and clinics are being implicated in the alleged scam.

“This puts in peril the partnership of the government and the private sector in the bid to provide quality healthcare to our countrymen,” Guingona said.

Guingona said he would invite all parties involved in the issue to give them the opportunity to present their side. (Sunnex)