Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) president and chief executive officer Ricardo Morales said on Wednesday he had hoped to tap a consulting company with international experience to help review processes at the state insurance firm, but did not have the funds to pursue this approach.
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He said PhilHealth officials would be unable to carry out their daily duties and think about transformation at the same time.
He also suggested that a loan from the Asian Development Bank might enable the state health insurance company to hire a consulting company to help with its transformation.
PhilHealth is being investigated by the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission for alleged irregularities, including those related to its information technology system and Internal Reimbursement Mechanism for COVID-19 patients.
Morales said he agreed with Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon that the agency’s modernization program be outsourced.
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In an interview with ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo, Morales said this was one of the best suggestions raised during the Senate hearing on alleged irregularities in PhilHealth on Tuesday.
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“I agree with that but it will not be completed overnight. It will not happen next year. It will take a long process. But I agree with that suggestion,” Morales said in Filipino.
During the Senate hearing, Drilon said the agency’s modernization program should be outsourced after investigations showed that several officials have been allegedly overpricing equipment needed in upgrading the state insurer’s information technology systems.
“If we have a prestigious IT company doing the computerization, then we will just have to pay for the services… without going into these bidding processes embedded with corruption,” Drilon said.
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The Commission on Audit (COA) and PhilHealth’s resident auditors earlier found irregularities in the proposed P2.1 billion information technology project of the firm, including allegedly overpriced equipment and the planned procurement of various equipment worth P734 million, which was not contained in the original budget proposal.