PALO, LEYTE – The Leyte provincial government planned to shut down the Ormoc District Hospital (OHD) after the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) issued an initial denial to renew its accreditation due to possible infractions committed by the hospital.

However, the plan fizzled out due to appeals of the medical community, especially municipal health officers, who reasoned out that shutting the hospital will be detrimental to the poor residents in Leyte’s fourth district that it serves.

“No closure will happen,” says Juvie Ladrera, an official at the Leyte Provincial Health Office (LPHO) in charge of monitoring ODH, in an interview on Tuesday, February 7. He says LPHO will issue a statement on this but until Friday evening no such statement was sent to the media.

Ladrera confirmed that there was indeed a plan to close ODH “because of a problem with Philhealth.” He said that a meeting among health workers with Leyte Governor Jericho Petilla and other provincial officials on Monday resulted in finding ways to resolve the problem.

“The provincial government looked for ways to stop the closure,” Ladrera said.

Ronald Jabay, Philhealth’s Regional Vice President for Eastern Visayas, said that ODH’s accreditation renewal was initially denied due to a pending issue before Philhealth’s arbitration office. He refused to give further information regarding the issue.

“It is due to a violation of our policy on performance commitment,” he said.

Jabay said the problem of ODH was discussed in a consultative meeting at Philhealth’s head office. He said two hospitals in Eastern Visayas have pending issues at the arbitration office, the other one is a private hospital in Catarman, Northern Samar.

He said all hospitals with pending issues before the arbitration are given an initial denial to their accreditation. “But if they file a timely appeal, their accreditation will remain active and the hospital will be reimbursed,” Jabay explained.

“There was no recommendation from Philhealth to close the hospital. We will not do that, we know the effect that it will radiate – we consider the facility as our partner and we will help them as far as accreditation is concerned,” Jabay said.

He said that when he learned about the plan of the provincial government to shut down ODH, he talked to some officials to dissuade them against pushing through with the plan as the denial of accreditation is not yet final. “The case remains pending at the arbitration and we are not in a position to say at this time if there was really an infraction or none. Let us just wait for the decision of the arbitration,” he added. By Elmer Recuerdo (EV Mail Feb. 6-12, 2023 issue)