The governor of Cebu (Philippines) Gwendolyn Garcia told the reporters that she heard stories regarding the PhilHealth COVID anomaly. She used as a first example the one about a motorcycle accident in Carmen (Cebu). She described that case and then said it was absurd that the hospital declared this death from a motorcycle accident as caused by COVID. This is definitely a very unprofessional and anti-scientific practice; especially on the basis of highly inaccurate test results. She then proceeded to cite another case, a heart attack. And when the person was later tested positive, again, according to the governor, the official cause of death declared was “COVID”.
Because the governor wants accurate and real data, she then said:
“In the province, I already requested; segregate them. Which of them really died from COVID? Those with no comorbidity; there’s nothing you can attribute to. And which of these are incidental only? Because now, even if the patient is DOA (dead on arrival), they still have to do the swabbing.”
This is not the only serious complaint being raised right now in the country’s coronavirus response, especially towards the Department of Health (DOH). Atty. Larry Gadon, the lawyer who ran for senator in 2016 election but lost, has also expressed his strong criticism against the agency. In a video from News5, he stated:
“I don’t believe in the DOH. I’ve been visiting more than twenty hospitals, COVID centers to give donations but I didn’t catch the COVID.”
With this, he meant to suggest that the so-called coronavirus isn’t that infectious, especially to young people and to those who have healthy body or strong body resistance. He then continued to sarcastically argue against the “barrier” in the motorcycle back ride:
“It’s great that they removed the mandates for the “barrier” because it’s too much already! Imagine, you’re already wearing a face mask, then face shield, then you wear a helmet, and then you must also put a barrier? What’s that?”
And then Atty. Larry Gadon went on to explain the importance of the economic aspect and the basic needs of the people and not just from the pandemic’s perspectives alone. He then told the reporters about what he’d read about coronavirus and what the DOH really appears to be doing:
“To be honest, COVID is curable. What the DOH is doing is too much fear-mongering. The economy has stopped because of this fear-mongering. COVID is curable…I’ve read quite a lot about COVID. Why they don’t require it in some countries? And why some countries didn’t lock down? Their economy has never been destroyed.”
In addition to this concern expressed by Atty. Larry Gadon, he then explained a little bit about the PhilHealth COVID anomaly:
“The DOH should fix their problem regarding PhilHealth. They cannot deny their involvement (on the current PhilHealth scam), you know why? All of the hospitals, all of the dialysis centers, the agency that controls the licenses of these hospitals is the DOH. If they can see some questionable things regarding these dialysis clinics, the DOH controls them…”
Asked by the journalist if he thinks the DOH is idiot, he answered: “Absolutely. The DOH is idiot!”
Meanwhile, Governor Gwen Carcia gave another example. This time, she talked about the person who got stabbed and then, again, the hospital labeled his death as COVID. Since it was ruled as COVID death by the hospital, they cremated his body. However, the family complained because they cannot file a case against the suspect anymore as cremation made it impossible to get an autopsy.
The third example that governor Garcia told the reporters was about a dialysis patient who died at home because she didn’t manage to get the dialysis due to most of the centers were closed at that time. But then even though the real cause of her death was renal failure, the hospital again declared the death as COVID. Therefore, the family protested.
The governor then pointed out to the PhilHealth budget connection:
“There has to be some questions that need to be asked. Because I believe there are COVID packages. PhilHealth will cover it.”
Totally disappointed about the blatant inconsistencies, Garcia told the reporters using sarcasm:
“We have one consultant in this office. You can always confirm. When he (she) got swabbed, they put on the record “probable COVID”. But then, the result later tuned out to be negative! So that’s a nice term, “probable”; probably yes, and probably no. Probably positive and probably negative.”
Later, the governor started talking more about the money aspect:
“Here it is now; I can give you the name, if anyone wants to investigate. It’s here. The swab result was negative but PhilHealth still paid 140k Php.”
The governor also claimed that this so-called “probable” COVID case cost 140k Php budget in PhilHealth and if it is “COVID positive”, it’s going to be 200k Php, and then if it is so-called “critical”, then it would cost 700k Php in PhilHealth. According also to her, reports came to her that because of this bargaining, the families usually agree to have the cause of death declared as COVID because they don’t have to pay the hospital since PhilHealth will shoulder the COVID case. However, this is at the expense of poor honest and hardworking contributors.
“At the rate that PhilHealth would be paying all of these claims, which is not really COVID case, I wonder if we can still implement the Universal Healthcare Law, which is much needed by the public. We need that budget more but wow, these PhilHealth packages are too big so of course that will add on.”