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Duterte asked to fire Health chief over hospital emergency fund

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President Rodrigo Roa Duterte confers with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III during a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Malacañan Palace on March 9. -- PCOO.GOV.PH

A group of private hospitals have asked President Rodrigo R. Duterte to replace his Health chief with someone “who can deliver the goods better in addressing the health concerns of the country.”

In a letter to the President, Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, Inc (PHAPi) President Rustico A. Jimenez said most of their 744 member-hospitals have been financially drained after Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III failed to release their emergency funds.

The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), which Mr. Duque heads, has allotted P30 billion for hospitals under its interim reimbursement mechanism in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

Mr. Jimenez accused the Health chief of giving them the “runaround” when they asked about their share.

“Although some have already received their share, most however are now so financially drained as they are still waiting for the promised interim reimbursement mechanism,” according to a copy of the letter.

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“For this reason, the PHAPi, an association of 744 member private hospitals, now respectfully requests for the replacement of Dr. Francisco T. Duque III as DoH secretary and chairman of PhilHealth and appoint someone who can deliver the goods better in addressing the health concerns of the country,” Mr. Jimenez said.

He said they have high regard for Mr. Duque “but he seems to be already so exhausted that there is a need for a fresh blood and a fresh mind to lead the Department of Health and the PhilHealth.”

The interim reimbursement mechanism will give hospitals the liquidity to adequately respond to the pandemic. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

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