Red Cross Halts PhilHealth-Funded COVID Tests Due to Debt

Up to P930 million in debt.
Photo/s: Philippine Red Cross

The Philippine Red Cross said it would cease COVID-19 tests chargeable to PhilHealth effective Thursday due to the state-run insurer's debts that amounted to P930 million.

The PRC said its one million swab tests account for roughly a fourth of the country's total 3.8 million RT-PCR tests. It will complete testing of all specimens submitted up to 11:59 p.m. Thursday. After Oct. 15, it will no longer receive specimens.

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It was a "difficult decision" but one that "has to be made," the PRC said. The agency needs $6 million (P292 million) per order to procure test kits from China. It also has to pay more than 300 medical technologists, swabbers, encoders, and pathologists.

The PRC said it would continue to test individuals who booked their screening through PRC helpline 1158 or, private companies and organizations, and local government units or other government agencies with laboratory testing agreements with the PRC or those whose payments are up to date.

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"One can't simply turn a blind eye to the impact of a receivable amount in the level of PhilHealth's obligations vis-a-vis the working capital of any business concern, specifically its ability to replenish materials and supplies required in its processing operations," part of its statement read.

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