The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) delays in reimbursing private hospitals for treating members of the state health insurer will make it harder for hospitals to retain critical manpower, Senator Joel Villanueva said today.
“This is also a jobs issue. When reimbursement is slow the flight of talent accelerates,“ Villanueva, chair of the Senate labor committee, said.
PhilHealth, he added, should be the reason for retaining private hospitals’ staff, not the cause of their departure, “especially at a time when the pull of foreign recruiters is strong.”
When private hospitals suffer from workforce reduction, it is the public that suffers, Villanueva said.
“You can have hospital beds but without medical staff, those beds are reduced to pieces of furniture,” he said.
“During an epidemic, when the call is ‘all hands on deck,’ the role of a state corporation is to ensure that frontline units operate at optimum capacity. Parang logistical provider so that frontliners can operate at full capacity,” he said.
“PhilHealth reimbursement is a critical part of the supply chain. Yan ang dapat maintindihan ng gobyerno,” Villanueva said.
An official of the 700-member Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PHAPi) on Monday complained that as of August, PhilHealth owed them P20 billion in unpaid claims.
Villanueva said PhilHealth should aim for a “zero backlog goal” in settling reimbursement claims by the end of the year.
By failing to solve the long festering problem of slow reimbursement, PhilHealth is unwittingly aiding headhunters in recruiting nurses to work abroad, Villanueva said.