UST hospital apologizes over statement on delayed PhilHealth reimbursement
MANILA, Philippines – The University of Santo Tomas Hospital apologized to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) over a statement made on Sunday, May 3, saying the state insurer owed the hospital P180 million in expenses for patients in 2019.
In a letter obtained by Rappler on Tuesday night, May 5, USTH director Dr Marcellus Francis Ramirez said the issue was “blown out of proportion.” (READ: UST Hospital retrenches due to pandemic losses, delayed PhilHealth reimbursement)
“There was no intention on our part to put your corporation on the spot. The hospital statement was a reply to repeated questions of the Varsitarian regarding the manpower reduction strategies which involved certain employees and it was an explanation to emphasize the financial challenges the institution is undergoing in order to air the side of the hospital on the issue,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez added, “The original statement in fact also included unpaid receivables from promissory notes and HMOs. Unfortunately, the news publication that was hyped was the PhilHealth reimbursements.”
A USTH employee, who requested anonymity, confirmed the authenticity of the letter to Rappler.
Ramirez on May 3 said in a statement published in UST's official school publication The Varsitarian that PhilHealth’s supposed “delayed reimbursement” had compelled the hospital to retrench employees due to financial losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
"Reimbursement is delayed by an average of 5-6 months. Currently the receivable of USTH from Philhealth stands at more than P180 million and counting," USTH director Dr Marcellus Francis Ramirez said in the statement.
PhilHealth CEO and President Ricardo Morales, however, told Rappler on Monday, May 4, that they don't have any unsettled reimbursements to USTH.
"We paid UST an average of P400 million per year [and] advanced P85 million on April 18 for COVID-19. No utang PhilHealth sa UST (PhilHealth doesn't owe anything to UST)," Morales said.
In the letter to PhilHealth, Ramirez acknowledged the receipt of the more than P85 million reimbursement they got.
He, however, asked the state insurer to provide them a written directive on its mechanisms and accounting. – Rappler.com