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Recto: Constant audit, appointment of resident Ombudsman to prevent corruption at PhilHealth

Senator Ralph Recto on Saturday pushed for wider reforms a day after President Rodrigo Duterte formed a task force to probe allegations of anomalies and corruption at the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.

Recto said regardless of the outcome of the investigation, the following must be implemented to put at end to fraudulent and corrupt practices of PhilHealth officials or personnel:

1. A bigger contingent from the Commission on Audit who will do constant audit, not just special audit.

"More than special audit, PhilHealth requires constant audit. I doubt if COA auditors in that agency number more than 25 -- too small for a P140-billion-a-year agency, which transacts 35,000 claims a day from 8,500 hospitals and 40,000 healthcare professionals," Recto said.

2. Appoint a resident Ombudsman.

3. Strictly follow qualification standards for Board Members, for the eight appointees outside the five ex-officios, as stipulated in the Universal Health Care Law.

"For President and CEO, it should be seven years of experience in public health, management, finance and health economics or a combination of any of these expertise. This should not be ignored or overruled by presidential discretion," Recto said.

4. Non-ex officio members of the Board and senior executives should be independently vetted by the GOCC Governance Commission if they meet the mandatory “fit and proper” rule. No GCG clearance, no appointment.

5. Consider appointing an opposition representative to the Board who shall meet the primary qualifications and serve as firm fiscalizer.

6. Strengthen the anti-fraud office with more people and a greater mandate so it can function as a truly independent internal affairs office. The Fact Finding Investigation and Enforcement Department (FFIED) and the Prosecution should be revamped. A revitalized antifraud group should be empowered to contract the services of outside experts, like auditors, if and when needed.

7. Suspend the power of the five Cabinet men in the Board (the Secretaries of Health, Social Welfare and Development, Budget and Management, Finance, and Labor and Employment) to designate alternates or representatives.

8. Harness the full power of IT to promote transparency and client satisfaction in all PhilHealth transactions.

"Changing the system, not just the personalities, will stop the revolving door of anomalies," Recto said.

Topics: Ralph Recto , Rodrigo Duterte , corruption , Philippine Health Insurance Corporation
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