House uncovers vulnerabilities in DOH, PhilHealth decision-making processes

House uncovers vulnerabilities in DOH, PhilHealth decision-making processes
House of Representatives

VULNERABILITIES in the decision-making processes of both the Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Health

Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), and other coordinating agencies were identified during the oversight

hearings of the House Committee on Appropriations on Monday, June 8, 2024.

Northern Samar Representative Paul Daza said that DOH failed to fully provide all services, medicines, and diagnostic services to underprivileged patients stated in the No Balance Billing (NBB) policy, insisting that DOH is responsible for providing essential medicine supplies and diagnostics to patients.

The NBB policy states that “no other fees or expenses shall be charged or paid for by indigent patients

above and beyond the package rates during their confinement period.”

DOH Secretary Teodoro Herbosa said there are no complications in the policy, adding that not all

medications are supplied by the government, which result in extra payments.

The panel ordered Herbosa to issue a circular within two weeks to clarify the NBB policy application.

The panel also discussed the PhilHealth data leak that happened on October 3, 2023, and to inform the 42

million affected about the breach's nature.

Lawmakers previously examined the PhilHealth's borrowings of $2.21 billion for Covid-19 response projects,

expressing worries about expensive testing and irregularities in PhilHealth.

The misuse of P12.8 billion in borrowed funds for expiring Covid-19 test kits was also highlighted, urging

accountability from the Procurement Service-Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) and PhilHealth for

improper fund allocation.

Marikina City Representative Stella Quimbo attributed the poor budget execution of PhilHealth and DOH to the lack of an overall government procurement strategy, which hampered timely health service delivery and increased costs, especially during crises like the recent pandemic. (Stephen Joseph T. Enrile/UP-Tacloban intern)

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