DOH-7: 99.5 percent of COVID allowance for healthcare, non-healthcare workers disbursed
LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu—The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) has already disbursed 99.5-percent of the P1,850,788,660.23 intended as payment of the Health Emergency Allowance (HEA)/One Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) allowance (OCA) for the healthcare/non-healthcare workers in private and public hospitals in the region.
The amount covered 1,657 approved HEA for their monthly claims, benefiting 253 public and private health facilities in the region, excluding DOH Hospitals and Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers.
In the letter-reply of DOH-7, dated September 28, 2023, to United Private Hospital Unions of the Philippines (UPHUP), it said that of the said amount, P558,409,937.50 of which were already disbursed to 289 approved HEA of private health facilities.
“Despite this progress, there remain 929 unpaid approved HEAs with 225 from private facilities. This amount is expected to increase as validation report is still ongoing,” the letter reads, which was signed by DOH-7 regional director Dr. Jaime Bernadas.
Earlier, UPHUP filed a formal complaint against DOH to the Anti-Red Tape Authority over the delayed disbursement of P5.8 billion in allowances for over 53,000 medical frontliners who served at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The group invoked Republic Act No. 11032, or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.
UPHUP has 26 hospital union members. Aside from UPHUP’s member hospitals, 129 other healthcare institutions with no unions also sought the group’s help for the same reason.
The agency explained that the non-submission by hospitals and health facilities of their COVID-19 risk classification (CREC) report; disapproval of the CREC reports due to errors in the required fields and details; and although CREC reports are validated and approved, the CHD is awaiting budgetary allocation to be downloaded by the DOH Central Office, caused the delay in the disbursement of the allowance.
“It has never been a conscious effort to delay the provisions of the HEA grants but, inasmuch as we intend to fast-track track release of the claims, we are equally bound to conform to the requirements of the pertinent guidelines and heed to the availability of funds from the DOH CO or the Department of Budget and Management (DBM),” it added.
The agency added that the remaining outstanding approved HEA claims have already been submitted to the DOH Central Office and that the said request is pending approval by the DBM, along with requests from other CHDs.
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