Red Cross COVID-19 testing imperiled as PhilHealth debt increases to nearly P1B – Gordon

As a result of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation’s (PhilHealth) failure to pay its remaining balances to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), the country’s foremost humanitarian organization’s COVID-19 testing is most likely to suspend, as announced by its Chairman and CEO Senator Richard J. Gordon.

Gordon, who has been at the forefront of the PRC’s response to COVID-19 pandemic, said in a radio interview on Saturday that the Red Cross will discontinue to test those whose payments will be charged to PhilHealth until it settles its balances.

“Aabot na sa isang bilyon ang utang ng PhilHealth sa Red Cross. Pagkatapos nilang magbigay ng advanced payment na P100 million noon, paunti-unti na lang ang pagbabayad nila. Hindi naman pupuwedeng ganoon dahil kailangan din namin ng pambili ng materials para sa testing at pambayad sa mga tao. Kung hindi sila makapagbabayad hanggang Monday, ititigil muna namin ang testing,” he said.

As Gordon explained, PhilHealth’s non-payment of P700.5 million will prevent the Red Cross from being able to order its needed test kits to replenish its dwindling supply, thus, forcing the PRC to stop its operations in its testing center in Manila.

Moreover, the PRC will not be able to open its newly-built laboratories in Bacolod, Zamboanga and Cagayan de Oro City.

“How can we operate if we do not have enough test kits and we do not have money to pay our med techs and other staff? We have been totally cooperative in all aspects but we cannot afford to continue if the government, particularly PhilHealth, continues to fail to pay for their lawful obligations,” he added.

According to Gordon, he already reached out to concerned government officials and has been continuously calling the PhilHealth’s attention to immediately act on the matter.

He also clarified that the Red Cross will still accommodate walk-in individuals who would want to get tested and who will pay for their swab tests.

“These delays and foot dragging by PhilHealth have been going on from day one of the contract. We sincerely hope for our people’s sake that the government will see its way clear in resolving this unwanted crisis immediately,” he said. SENATE.GOV.PH