PhilHealth eyes foreign audit firm to trace P154-B losses

THE Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) on Friday, August 16, bared that it is now eyeing to commission an international auditing firm to find the P154 billion that was supposedly lost due to irregularities.

In an interview, PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo Morales disclosed that they are now in talks with a consultancy firm with a "global reputation" to make sure that the auditing will be done by the best.

"I am thinking of getting an agency, a consulting firm with global reputation that can help me navigate. I can pretend to know all the answers. But if somebody has the answerr anywhere in the world, I will find him and I will get him to work in this program," said Morales.

"This is something major. We will have the best available. No compromises, we will get the best," he added.

He declined to identify the consultancy firm until after the negotiation is completed.

"Let us say, in three months, I can have something. Maybe I can report something already," said Morales.

Morales said the decision was prompted by the failure of the Commission on Audit (COA) to trace the alleged lost funds.

He, however, clarified that he is not blaming COA.

"For one thing, COA might not be looking for corruption. Their mandate is to look at the efficiency of fund use. So we might need another body to do an audit, to get an objective outside agency to do it," said Morales.

Senator Panfilo Lacson had claimed that PhilHealth sustained losses amounting to about P154 billion due to overpayments and other irregularities between 2013 and 2017.

Lacson's claims have prompted a Senate inquiry on the alleged irregularities.

But according to Morales, the international audit will not overlap with the Senate inquiry as the former will be similar to an internal probe.

He added that he cannot solely rely on the Senate regarding the investigation of the alleged losses but assured that they will continue to cooperate with the senators.

"We will be cross referencing whatever we can get from one threat to the other and back to the other," Morales said. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)


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