Four hospitals have already been forced to close because of the delayed payment of claims by the state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), and more hospitals may follow suit, an industry group warned Friday.
Speaking in an interview Friday on GMA's Unang Hirit, Dr. Jose Rene De Grano, president of Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. (PHAPi), said a hospital in Samar and three in Davao del Sur have had to temporarily close because of unpaid PhilHealth debts.
"This is really serious because more hospitals might also cease operations if the prevailing condition remains," De Grano said.
The operations of private hospitals' depend largely on the reimbursements from PhilHealth, especially in COVID-19 cases, De Grano said. If reimbursements from COVID cases don't arrive on time, this depletes the funds of private hospitals.
Affected patients must then be accommodated in other hospitals or health care facilities, while some hospital workers have had to apply elsewhere.
De Grano said PhilHealth still owes private hospitals P5 billion in unpaid claims.
During the House hearing on Thursday, PhilHealth chief Dante Gierran vowed to pay 60 percent of the unpaid PhilHealth claims.
Earlier this week, hospital groups and PhilHealth met to discuss the state insurer’s circular on the temporary suspension of payment of claims, which is intended to be a preventive measure against fraud.
Private hospitals, however, saw the circular as another way to delay payment of claims.