PhilHealth withdraws WellMed accreditation over ghost dialysis scam

The National Bureau of Investigation says it will continue holding WellMed Dialysis Center owner Bryan Christopher Sy, seen here wearing a striped shirt, until the Department of Justice orders his release.. | photo by Lyn Rillon

The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. on Tuesday, June 18, said it has withdrawn WellMed Dialysis Center’s accreditation after reports of bogus benefit claims made by the facility for non-existent kidney treatments.

In a Twitter post, the state-run health insurer said: “WellMed patients are advised to transfer to other accredited dialysis facilities to ensure continuous availment of PhilHealth benefits.”

Last week, PhilHealth officials said that administrative cases were filed against WellMed in Novaliches, Quezon City for misrepresentation and falsification last November.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer cited a former WellMed employee and revealed that PhilHealth continued paying for a patient’s dialysis treatments despite the patient passing away in 2016 after WellMed continued filing claims for the “ghost” sessions.

President Rodrigo Duterte, for his part, said he wanted the owners of WellMed arrested and investigated for making “fraudulent claims.”

He also hinted at reshuffling PhilHealth officials during the interview with Sonshine Media Network.

“I am ordering you the [National Bureau of Investigation]… the NBI should take over by tomorrow and start to summon everybody and the owner of that Wellness thing there where these fraudulent claims were discovered. Arrest them. That is my order. Arrest them. Place there sa blotter ninyo (Place there on your blotter),” Duterte said.

“Arrest them and investigate them right away. No ifs, no buts… If a lawyer attempts to interfere, tell him it’s my order,” he added.

Roy Ferrer, PhilHealth acting president and chief executive officer, as well as several board members of the government corporation have already tendered their courtesy resignation last week.

However, Duterte might still keep them until replacements are found, according to Secretary to the Cabinet Karlo Nograles.

PhilHealth, for its part, said payments for all claims filed by WellMed had been suspended as early as February. 

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