Bong Go to help private hospitals on unpaid claims vs. PhilHealth

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has answered the call of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. (PHAPI) regarding alleged missed PhilHealth claims payment and fraud that has been crippling the PhilHealth system. 

The association has aired their concerns through a print advertisement and in an interview with Ted Failon in DZMM yesterday, Tuesday, August 20.  In response to this, the senator and Senate Committee on Health chair went on-air in the same program of Ted Failon today, Wednesday, August 21. 
Go, together with host Ted Failon, and PHAPI President Dr. Rustico Jimenez discussed their concerns during the phone interview and assured him that the Senate is open to hear their side. Go also said that he will relay the issues raised by PHAPI to PhilHealth President Ricardo Morales.
“Dalawang venue po ang pwede niyong pagsabihan ng inyong hinaing na mapangako ko sa inyo. Unang-una, doon sa (Senate) hearing pwede niyong sabihin, at malaman ng publiko kung ano ang naging problema at bakit nagkaroon ng utang sila at ipasagot nga natin,” Go told Jimenez.
“Pangalawa naman ay pinakiusapan natin ang Presidente ng PhilHealth, si General Morales, na humanda po doon sa mga claims ninyo at papakinggan kayo privately kung ano ang mga dapat ayusin at (para) hindi na magkaroon ng mga ganitong problema,” Go added.
In various news reports, hundreds of private hospitals have already aired their sentiment towards claims not being paid by PhilHealth and that these hospitals are adversely affected if no payment will be made. Go shared that the current situation where delayed or non-payment of claims, not just in favor of private hospitals but also of public hospitals, has been affecting doctors and the services that they are giving to patients. 
“Naiintindihan ko po ang pinanggagalingan ni Doctor Jimenez. Kapag may delay or non-payment of Philhealth claims,  apektado po ang mga doctors at apektado rin ang serbisyong kanilang maibibigay sa mga pasyente,” Go said adding that they will also hear the agency’s side through Morales.
“Napakinggan din po natin na sasagutin ng PhilHealth kung ano ang naging problema kasi po nakausap ko ang bagong management ng PhilHealth na pinamumunuan ni General Dick Morales at handa naman po siyang pakinggan at kung may claims nga po ba ang grupo nila, PHAPI, ay handa naman daw siyang makinig,” Go explained. “Kaya sinabi niya (Morales) na ano ho ba mga claims nila at ano ho ba ang mga dapat nilang sisingilin ay handa po siyang makinig.”
Go guaranteed that these concerns will be addressed during the joint hearing of the Health and Blue Ribbon Committees next week. 
“Sa susunod na linggo, sa joint hearing ng Committee on Health at Blue Ribbon Committee, isa sa pag-uusapan dito ay yang problema po sa PhilHealth,” Go said. “Patuloy po ‘yung hearing namin dyan kaya papakinggan ko, ipapatawag po namin si Mr. Jimenez and siyempre nandoon din po ang mga opisyales ng PhilHealth at sasagutin nila kasi po matagal nabayaran.”
Go also lamented that if these issues continue, hospitals may have difficulty providing quality services. “Hindi ako papayag na may mga ganun na mga utang na makakaapekto po sa mga ospital. Papaano makakapaikot ng kanilang pondo ‘yung ospital kung matagal din po silang babayaran?” Go said.
Go also said that he will continue to be the bridge of the people, to make services faster and more efficient. “Ako nga sabi ko, handa ako maging tulay sa mga bagay na ‘yan,” Go said. “Ngayon nga po sabi ko pangako ko sa taumbayan, hindi lang dito sa PhilHealth, magiging tulay kay Pangulo, sa opisina ng Pangulo, kung ano man po ang pwede kong maitulong upang mapabilis po ang serbisyo sa tao.”
Go added that before making any judgment on the issue, it is important for the public to hear all sides of the story. 
“Lahat ng reklamo, pakinggan natin at tutulong ako na maiparating ito sa ikinauukulan. Let’s hear all sides. Ipapatawag po natin sila sa Senado para magkaroon sila ng oportunidad na mapakinggan,” he explained. 
Failon also asked the senator regarding Malasakit Center and his plans towards improving the quality of service in regional hospitals, most especially the availability of medical equipment.
“Mayroon na tayong 41 Malasakit Centers,” Go told Failon explaining that the concept of the Malasakit Center goes back to the days when President Rodrigo Duterte was still mayor of Davao City. Thousands then lined up at Davao City Hall to ask for financial medical assistance. When Duterte became president, Go thought of bringing the Malasakit Center initiative nationwide under the President’s directive. It has been a continuing program ever since.
“Ngayon po kung may Malasakit Center, nasa isang bubong, one-stop shop, nandoon na po ang iba’t ibang ahensya ng gobyerno, katulad ng DOH, DSWD, PhilHealth at PCSO, at mag aambag-ambag sila at kung may balance pa, ang magbabayad po ay Malasakit Center,” Go added. 
Go also shared with Failon that he already filed the Malasakit Center Act of 2019 (SB No. 199) that seeks to institutionalize Malasakit Centers all over the country. “Kahit hindi na po Pangulo si Pangulong Duterte ay sana po ay magtuloy-tuloy ang programang ito kasi nakakatulong pa naman po sa ating kababayan. Ibigay natin what is due to them, lalong-lalo na po sa panahon na kailangan nila ng tulong, litong-lito sila saan sila lalapit.”
With regards to the upgrading medical equipment in public hospitals, Go told Failon that he will discuss the matters with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III. “Kakausapin ko po si Secretary Duque at titingnan ko rin mismo ang budget nila kung mayroon din silang enhancement po ng mga equipment, lalong-lalo na po sa mga regional hospitals kung saan naka-sentro ‘yung mga (medical equipment tulad ng) MRI po at CT scan,” Go shared. 
Go assured that, as Committee on Health chair, “nakatutok po ako at dapat po magagamit ang pera ng health sa tama at sa mga equipment.”
The senator also reiterated that “kung sino po ang kailangan ng tulong ay pwede niyo pong iparating sa akin, lalong- lalo na po kung kailangan ng mga espesyalista ay handa po akong tumulong lalo na sa pagpapagamot.”

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