VERA FILES FACT CHECK: No, Bong Go did not ‘uncover’ PhilHealth’s debts to private hospitals

A doctored article published by website Shared News ( claiming Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go uncovered the debts of Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) is misleading.

Shared News copied an Aug. 25 article of REMATE ON-L1NE, the online platform of tabloid Remate, about PhilHealth’s alleged non-payment of debts to private hospitals. It then altered its headline, crediting Go with uncovering the debts.

The original headline by REMATE ON-L1NE only said Go is “helping” resolve the “problem” of PhilHealth’s debts.

Healthcare providers, such as hospitals, can apply for reimbursement of services it provides to PhilHealth members.

The Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. (PHAPi) raised concerns over unpaid claims of its member hospitals in a print advertisement and on the program of DZMM Teleradyo host Ted Failon on Aug. 20. Go addressed the group’s complaint the next day, saying he will “resolve” it through a Senate hearing and a private meeting with PhilHealth President Ricardo Morales. Go currently chairs the Senate Committee on Health and Demography.

PHAPi had already called out PhilHealth in 2012, 2014 and 2018 for the months-long delay in settling the claims of its members. In a Sept. 5 Senate hearing, the group asked for nearly P3 billion-worth of claims from PhilHealth.

PhilHealth’s Morales, during the same hearing said he already spoke “directly” to PHAPI President Rustico Jimenez to resolve the issue. He added they are already working on the agency’s information system to “clear this up.” In 2018, PhilHealth insisted they were settling the claims of hospitals over a period of 33 days on average.

Shared News’ Aug. 26 story could have reached over seven million social media users, with traffic largely coming from public Facebook groups MOCHA USON BLOG Group and Duterte Para sa Bayan!, and Facebook page MOCHA USON BLOG, owned by newly-appointed Deputy Executive Director of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Margaux “Mocha” Uson.

Shared News has a history of lifting and reposting reports from legitimate news websites and has been flaggedtwice by VERA Files Fact Check since it began publishing on May 14 this year.

(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)