OCTOBER 24, 2019 — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Thursday said private hospitals may face closure if they push through with their plan to withdraw from the PhilHealth, warming a health crisis due to lack of doctors and nurses.
It will be a “lose-lose situation” if privately-operated hospitals would push throught with its threat to pull out from Philhealth because they will lose income stream and public medical centers will not be able to absorb the large volume of patients, Duque said.
“How can they sustain their operations?” Duque asked during an interview in the One News show “The Chiefs” “They cannot live on the 2 percent of the population that isn’t covered yet by Philhealth. Saan sila kukuha ng kanilang pangtustos, pambayad ng kuryente, pangsweldo ng kanilang empleyado? Kaya sabi ko it just doesn’t make any sense to me.”
The health chief was commenting on an earlier threat made by the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc (PHAPi) to withdraw accreditation from the PhilHealth due to pending reimbursements from the government agency which amounted to about P2.5 billion.
He said he doubts whether the group is serious about their plan to pullout as they have been issuing similar threats in the past.
“They’ve said that many times before. It was almost always automatic [that] if they think their payments are delayed they always come up with a threat to withdraw,” he added.
Apart from delayed and unpaid reimbursements, PHAPi had also expressed concern on PhilHealth’s revocation of its accreditation of some small hospitals in Mindanao as healthcare providers, saying the hospitals were not given the opportunity to be heard in a formal hearing.
Dr. Rustico Jimenez, PHAPi president, has denied that he raising these issues against Philhealth because he was interested to be appointed to the agency.
“Ang palagi nilang sinasabi na ako lang ang nagre-reklamo, hindi po. Ito po ay buong order ng aming board na ipakita na hindi kami nagkakasala and kung meron ng mga nagkakasala, willing kami to polish our rank,” he said.
Duque, however, said he has spoken with a few PHAPi members and it seems that “they do not share the same sentiment as what has been expressed by their president” on withdrawing from the PhilHealth. (Christian Deiparine, MM)
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