THE Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) said it is ready to sanction those found to have delayed the processing of health insurance claims against the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

“There seem to be mounting requests from the hospitals to reimburse immediately, specifically (smaller) hospitals,” ARTA Director General Jeremiah B. Belgica said in a press release on Tuesday.

The Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines last month said that the health insurance agency failed to pay around P6 billion worth of reimbursements, forcing hospitals to downsize. PhilHealth has said that some P2.4 billion worth of claims last year were denied or returned due to deficiencies in hospital documents and late filing.

Mr. Belgica, in a mobile message, said that ARTA is not conducting a separate investigation, but will accept complaints and requests for assistance from those unable to collect from PhilHealth.

“Right now, we are supporting (PhilHealth) President (Dante A.) Gierran (if and when) he needs ARTA’s assistance in cracking the whip” on the agency’s bureaucracy, he said.

Government workers found to have violated Republic Act 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act can be suspended or dismissed from public service, imprisoned, or fined.

“I do not think the President of PhilHealth is the one slowing down the process. He is actually doing a good job. We are looking into the people who have been there for quite some time,” Mr. Belgica said.

He added that ARTA will assist the agency in simplifying and automating its processes. According to ARTA, the health insurer must streamline its processes before shifting to full automation.

PhilHealth was recently criticized for not covering coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients in temporary isolation tents outside hospitals. Mr. Gierran has said the health insurer is currently reviewing its policies. — Jenina P. Ibañez