Safeguards in place for graft-free UHC implementation, DOH chief assures

Health Secretary Dr. Francisco Duque III
Health Secretary Dr. Francisco Duque III displays a graph showing the decline of the measles outbreak in the country during a press conference during World Immunization Week 2019, April 30, 2019, in Manila. Despite the vaccination scare due to the controversy involving the anti-Dengue vaccine Dengvaxia that were administered to hundreds of thousands of Filipino children, the health department, in partnership with WHO and UNICEF, cited health workers for immunizing the country’s 3.8 million children against measles and declared the “outbreak is almost over.”

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III on Thursday assured that anti-corruption safeguards are in place for the implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC), even as he warned all health-care providers and Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) officials not to “cheat the system nor even attempt to do it.”

“I will ensure that justice will be served to those who defraud the system,” Duque said in a news statement in response to the issue of fraud surrounding the PhilHealth.

“Stop the hocus-pocus. Many sick Filipinos are hoping to get assistance from PhilHealth,” Duque said.


He admitted that he was “deeply disappointed” about the corruption issues that is currently plaguing the PhilHealth and WellMed in connection with bogus dialysis claims amounting to more than a billion pesos.

“PhilHealth was founded with the vision of providing Filipinos with universal health coverage because it is our belief, as public health practitioners, that financial status should never hinder any Filipino from receiving quality health service,” he said.

For the system to be taken advantage of and used in corruption, he stressed, is utterly “unacceptable.” “These nefarious activities must end and PhilHealth should further strengthen its zero-tolerance policy on overpayments,” he pointed out.

Duque noted that President Duterte has issued instructions for a clean slate in PhilHealth, paving the way for a major revamp of PhilHealth’s accreditation committee.

“All false claims are to be investigated and when warranted, charges will be filed. Board members have also been asked to submit their courtesy resignation upon the order of the President,” he said, as he thanked the President for his robust leadership and swift action in this matter.

“I call for all of us to work together—the medical community, health providers, government units in the national and local levels, and the Filipino people—to fix the system and put an end to corruption and fraud.”

Moving forward, Duque said that he had already  instructed his colleagues in the department to ensure  anti-corruption measures are in place for the implementation of the UHC.

“This is to highlight the provisions in the UHC Act that were intended to improve the health financing system,” he said.

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