City council authorizes mayor to sue PhilHealth-6 officers

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas

By Jennifer P. Rendon

There’s apparently no stopping Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas from running after state-run insurer Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

Just a week after announcing that he was planning to file a case against PhilHealth-Region 6 officials, Treñas announced on September 1 that the Iloilo City Council has already authorized him to file the complaint.

In his Facebook page, Treñas said he would be hauling some PhilHealth 6 officers before the Office of Ombudsman and the Anti-Red Tape Council “for the early payment of the claims of the hospitals in the city and the Uswag Molecular Laboratory.”

“We need a strong health care system as we face a strong surge of cases and many are seeking to be confined in the hospitals, especially the elderly, those with comorbidities, and the unvaccinated,” he said.

Last week, Treñas declared that he will criminally and administratively go after PhilHealth following a meeting with other Western Visayas local chief executives (LCEs) met and PhilHealth representatives.

“I am now almost decided that PhilHealth is no longer capable of paying the claims. In Iloilo City alone the claims are reaching almost P1-B,” he said after the meeting.

Treñas added that the health system in the country will collapse in case nothing is done about this.

He noted that there must be some urgency in the payment of these claims “unless we want the health care system to collapse.”

He claimed that the nonpayment of these claims is resulting to the hospitals not adding more COVID beds and ICU beds to cater to moderate and severe positive patients,” he added.

It can be noted that Treñas has already called the attention of PhilHealth over its accountabilities.

In a letter dated July 9 addressed to Atty. Valerie Anne Hollero, PhilHealth-6 regional Vice President, Treñas said he furnished her office with the list of PhilHealth accountabilities/claims of health care institutions in Iloilo City.

Of the 10 health care institutions in the city, nine were able to update their list.

The PhilHealth accountabilities totaled to P1.355,454,877.65.

The Western Visayas Medical Center in Mandurriao district posted the highest claims with P556.984 million as of April 30, 2021.

PhilHealth owed Metro Iloilo Hospital and Medical Center in Jaro around P190.756 million as of June 23, 2021; Uswag Iloilo City Molecular Laboratory with P170.289 million as of July 6, 2021; St. Paul’s Hospital Iloilo with P131.069 million as of July 7; and Iloilo Mission Hospital with P99.645 million as of April 30.

Treñas also said that The Medical City Iloilo has claims reaching P88.052 million as of May 31; West Visayas State University Medical Center with P49.998 million; Iloilo Doctors’ Hospital with P38.265 million; and QualiMed Hospital with P30.393 million:

Only the Medicus Medical Center was not able to provide an updated list.

In a statement on August 26, PhilHealth-6 said it has processed the most number of claims among the regions.

For 2021 alone, it processed 591,148 claims.

“The average Turn-Around Time (TAT) for payment of good claims is 27 days from the time it is filed by the health care institutions (HC1s), making it the second fastest among all Regions in terms of TAT. As evidenced by the numbers, PhilHealth Region VI has not been remiss in its duty to facilitate the payment of good claims within the time provided by law. The Region considers health care institutions/providers as partners and strives to pay the claims as soon as possible, balancing this with their duty to protect public funds,” the statement added.