EIGHT officials and employees of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) 7 and six officers and personnel of the Adventist Hospital Cebu are facing various criminal and administrative charges before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas for alleged irregularities on a coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) claim.
Lawyer Rennan Augustus Oliva, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 director, confirmed this during a press conference on Thursday, July 1, 2021.
“This is the third case we are filing against the allegations of corruption and irregularities within the government-owned and -controlled corporation PhilHealth, as well as, in this particular case, the Adventist Hospital Cebu,” he told members of the Cebu media.
In October 2020, the NBI 7 filed several complaints against eight officials of PhilHealth 7 and four officials and employees of Perpetual Succour Hospital in Cebu City for their alleged involvement in Covid-19 benefit claims anomalies.
In February 2021, the NBI 7 also filed charges against Chong Hua Hospital for alleged similar false claims.
Oliva said the latest charges involving the Adventist Hospital Cebu were filed before the anti-graft office on Tuesday, June 29.
Sought for comment, Adventist Hospital Cebu’s vice president for operations Joel Aganan said the administration still awaits official communication.
“We already referred this matter to our legal counsel,” he told SunStar Cebu in a text message.
PhilHealth 7 officials Arlan Granali, acting vice president; Francis Javier, division chief-HCDMD; Joan Tiu-Ayuson, medical specialist IV/section head of the Benefits Administration Section (BAS); Josette Bacalso, fiscal controller IV; Anecito Ramas Jr., social insurance officer 1; Anthonneette Maamo, BAS clerk III; Nina Christine Lunday, BAS social insurance officer 1; Kenneth Donalyo; and Adventist Hospital officers and employees Dr. Michelle Jay Francisco-Napigkit, attending physician; Cefriano Julian Jr., chief of the patient business department; Ma. Kenneth La Sage, clerk, PhilHealth section; Dicchel Grace Napigkit, billing clerk; Red Ford Gargarila, billing clerk; and Romeo Rando, Jr., registered nurse, are criminally charged with alleged violation of Section 3 of Republic Act (RA) 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and alleged malversation of public funds or property penalized under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code.
Granali, Javier, Tiu-Ayuson, Bacalso, Ramas, Jr., Maamo, Lunday, and Donalyo were also administratively charged with violating the Revised Administrative Code of 1987 and violating RA 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials and Employees, while additional charges were filed against Francisco-Napigkit of the Adventist Hospital for allegedly issuing false medical certificates.
Oliva said these cases stemmed from a randomly forwarded and approved claim of the Adventist Hospital.
Oliva said a certain Ervin Gayrama, a retired bank employee and PhilHealth beneficiary, was confined on May 27 to 28, 2020 at the hospital due to cough and shortness of breath.
Gayrama’s initial diagnosis was “ambulatory” and “acute respiratory failure secondary to pulmonary tuberculosis.”
On May 28, 2020, Gayrama died at the hospital.
Oliva said Francisco-Napigkit, the attending physician, issued his death certificate with the underlying causes as “Covid pneumonia probable, severe; antecedent cause: septic shock secondary to Covid pneumonia, and acute kidney injury secondary to Covid pneumonia probable as an underlying cause.”
Oliva said during that time the result of Gayrama’s initial antibody test was already available.
On June 3, 2020, the result of the RT-PCR test was released by the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center and revealed that Gayrama tested negative for Covid-19.
Despite this, on June 8, 2020, Gayrama’s death certificate was forwarded to the Office of the Civil Registrar in Cebu City with “Covid pneumonia probable, severe” as cause of death.
On June 15, 2020, Oliva said, the Adventist Hospital officers prepared the PhilHealth claim documents and used the alleged false death certificate as basis when they submitted it to PhilHealth and continued to claim the benefit package of P333,519. (WBS)