GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 04 March) – The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) is targeting to complete before the end of the month the liquidation of the P483.5-million advance funding that it released to local hospitals last year under the Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM).
Dr. Hector Zenon Leonardo Malate, acting regional vice president of PhilHealth-12, said about “99.9 percent” of the funds were already liquidated by various hospitals in the region that were covered by such mechanism.
He said only one hospital has not yet fully accomplished the liquidation process but is continually working on it.
“Hopefully, within this quarter, the funds will be 100-percent liquidated,” Malate said in a radio interview.
A report released by the agency said at least 17 private and public hospitals in the region received a total of P483,567,837 in advance funding from PhilHealth under the IRM before it was suspended in August last year.
IRM is a cash advance measure implemented by PhilHealth to provide hospitals with emergency funds to respond to natural disasters and calamities, including the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
In Region 12, the Department of Health-run Cotabato Regional Medical Center in Cotabato received the highest funding with P115,685,011, followed by the St. Louis Hospital in Tacurong City with P62,087,981.
St. Elizabeth Hospital and Dr. Jorge P. Royeca Hospital, both based in this city, got P51,952,503 and P44,017,216, respectively.
Malate said the almost complete liquidation of the IRM funds released in the region shows that “the money was not missing.”
“It is already being returned by the recipient-hospitals through liquidation,” he said.
A former anti-fraud legal officer of PhilHealth accused its officials last year of supposedly pocketing through various schemes some P15 billion in funds under the IRM but it was repeatedly debunked by the agency.
Malate said they are hoping that the public’s perception about the alleged irregularities at the agency will eventually improve with the full liquidation of the IRM funds.
He said the situation affected their collection efficiency and membership coverage last year, which reached 86 percent of the region’s over five million eligible population.
“We’re continually working to regain the trust of our members and hopefully this would translate to better collection this year,” he added. (MindaNews)