By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Anti-crime and anti-corruption group Task Force Crusaders (TFC) claimed to have evidence against three doctors from the Cataract Foundation allegedly involved with Philippine Health Insurance (PhilHealth) fraud.
TFC deputy national commander John Chiong said, based on complaints from cataract patients, they were referred by the Cataract Foundation to three ophthalmologists.
Chiong said they were reportedly taken to private hospitals in groups, although one particular private hospital was most preferred, and were operated on by three doctors with the same surname.
While Chiong did not disclose the name of the physicians, he stated, aside from charging their service and professional fees to PhilHealth, the ophthalmologists asked patients to pay them an additional fee following the operation.
“The Cataract Foundation would also pay government health and social workers to ‘solicit’ patients for them,” Chiong said.
The scam, he claimed, continues particularly in Negros Occidental, despite sanctions PhilHealth has already imposed on some hospitals.
Chiong added, a team from Philhealth is in Bacolod City conducting a probe on the allegations and have already discovered, in 2015, around 3,000 individuals availed the services of the said foundation at one private hospital.
Meanwhile, in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental, the team reported 200 patients who underwent the eye procedure.
According to Chiong, the patients confirmed they each gave at least P500 to the foundation.
He also stressed, since it is the foundation conducting the operations, it should be conducted in a government hospital not a private hospital.
Earlier, Department of Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial sent a team from PhilHealth to conduct an investigation over allegations of health insurance fraud.
TFC also sent a letter to House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez urging him to launch a congressional inquiry into the issue./WDJ