THE Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) dismissed reports that its information technology projects were “overpriced”.

An internal audit said PhilHealth’s planned procurement of IT equipment worth P 734 million was flagged as “anomalous” because it was not included in the state insurer’s original project proposal.

It also discovered that the budget for some IT equipment was overpriced by P98 million, as well as software that was listed as P21 million in the proposed budget but only costs P168,000.

In a statement, PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Officer Ricardo Morales said that PhilHealth’s Information System Strategic Plan (ISSP) covering 2018 to 2020 had been approved by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

“Only items in an approved and amended ISSP can be procured by the Corporation strictly following the provisions embodied in RA 9184 or the Procurement Law,” Morales said.

He added that since IT projects were of a highly technical nature, the services of independent IT experts were used to review the items, as well as to develop the roadmap for the state insurer.

Morales said the report was “intended for internal consumption and will surely result in misinformation if disseminated to unintended users”.

Morales said that its IT sector was now using the internal audit report for proper guidance in reforming the planning and procurement process, while the items reported were under review.

Morales said that to lessen PhilHealth’s losses due to fraud and inefficiencies, it has to invest in a world-class information technology system that would make the company “more efficient for the benefit of its members, hospital partners and stakeholders…”.

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