THE National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 has started its probe on the alleged anomalies involving the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) by reviewing documents from PhilHealth offices in Central Visayas.
Renan Augustus Oliva, newly appointed NBI 7 director, said their office is part of the task force created by the Department of Justice to help verify corruption allegations against the state health insurer.
Oliva, a lawyer, said they have already coordinated with the Commission on Audit in analyzing the data they gathered before submitting these to their central office.
He said the NBI 7 will also look into the interim reimbursement mechanism (IRM) funds and coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) claims.
IRM is an emergency cash advance to help hospitals with needed liquidity so they can respond better to the rise in Covid-19 cases.
Cebu City is one of the areas in the country with a high number of Covid-19 cases. As of Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, it had a total of 618 active cases, 8,334 recoveries and 649 deaths.
PhilHealth 7, in an earlier report, had already released around P1.1 billion in IRM funds to 50 hospitals in the region as of July.
Based on the data that the PhilHealth 7 sent to SunStar Cebu, the 50 hospitals included 13 private hospitals in Cebu; two private hospitals in Negros Oriental; five Department of Health-retained hospitals; four private hospitals in Bohol; 10 Bohol Province-owned hospitals; and 16 Cebu Province-owned hospitals.
Meanwhile, Oliva said the PhilHealth 7 management has so far been cooperative in the investigation.
He said even before they were given the go signal to conduct their own investigation (after the Senate and Congress inquiries), PhilHealth Cebu had already sought their assistance to look into claims it found questionable.
Oliva said they already forwarded documents from the PhilHealth district office in Bohol and Dumaguete City to their central office.
He also assured that they will go deeper in their investigation.
The bureau has also been tasked to conduct lifestyle checks on some PhilHealth officials and workers.
In his report to President Rodrigo Duterte, which was aired on Tuesday, Aug. 25, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that aside from the information technology department, the legal department of the PhilHealth has been a “very ripe source of irregularities.”
Guevarra said aside from filing legal action against those behind the corruption in PhilHealth, he hoped to introduce structural reforms, beginning with the reorganization of PhilHealth.
He said the DOJ task force’s impression is that PhilHealth’s IT system is “fragmented and can be easily manipulated” because there is no centralized control over the management information system. (AYB with WBS)