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Red Cross stops free COVID-19 tests for OFWs, frontliners due to Philhealth Php930M debt

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has decided to stop conducting free coronavirus tests for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), medical frontliners, and other Filipinos starting Thursday, October 15.

This is due to the state health insurer’s P930 million debt to the organization.

Philhealth has funded the free tests for OFWs but the organization stopped this because of the agency’s inability to settle its ever-increasing outstanding balance.

RELATED STORY: Philippine Red Cross reveals PhilHealth’s outstanding Php700.5 million debt, fears cease of operations due to non-payment

“This is a difficult decision to a humanitarian organization such as the PRC to make but it has to be made. The PRC does not have unlimited resources to replenish the testing kits for its laboratories unless PhilHealth, its major creditor, settles its lawful obligations to PRC,” Red Cross said in a statement.

The following will no longer be accepted in Red Cross testing centers.

Overseas Filipino Worker, individuals arriving in airports and seaports, individuals through the mega swabbing facilities and through local government units (LGU), medical frontliners and government workers, and others included in the Department of Health’s (DOH) expanded testing protocol.

READ ON: PH Red Cross can now conduct 12,000 COVID-19 tests daily with new laboratory 

Philhealth said it will thresh out its issues with PRC so that they can resume the free testing.

“It is in close coordination with the PRC to thresh out issues pertaining to the said partnership so the PRC can immediately resume accommodating RT-PCR tests for priority sectors that will be paid for by PhilHealth,” the agency said.

As of September 2020, PhilHealth said it has already paid the PRC a total of P1.6 billion for at least 433,263 tests.

Staff Report

The Filipino Times is the chronicler of stories for, of and by Filipinos all over the world, reaching more than 236 countries in readership. Any interesting story to share? Email us at [email protected]

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