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The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. defective registry data base poses danger to its operation — Commission on Audit

coalogoTHE defective registry data base of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) poses operational danger to its operations, which includes the delivery of basic health services to the public.

This is what was discovered by the Commission on Audit following its examination of Philhealth’s records. Consequently, it has recommended that the corporation undertake steps to update its records after an examination last year revealed that millions of members have defective registry data.

In its 2015 report on Philhealth, the COA said an audit team found that the Philhealth Members Database (PMD) for 4,287,546 members contained missing entries in their records including 3.037 million with no dates of birth, 1.25 million with no middle names, 1,117 with no first names, and 39 without last names.

This number represented six percent of the 66,051,787 total membership of Philhealth.

“The data contained in the PMD were examined and it was observed that there were deficiencies that would affect the relevance, reliability, and completeness of information included therein. These deficiencies could adversely affect the delivery of services to members and to the operation of Philhealth,” auditors said.

Another finding was the incorrect filling up of the requirement for “middle name” wherein only the middle initial was provided. This represented 4,587,697 members on the database.

At the same time, columns for middle name, birthday, and status were also found missing in the records of 207,485 members which presented problems in verification in cases where members have identical first names or last names. Entries in the absent columns would have provided the needed information.

Meanwhile, in the “Status” column that would have shown whether a member is active or a senior citizen, the COA found 938,094 members have invalid entries or “null” values.

It was in the “Birthday” column however that auditors found the biggest surprise.

One member’s birth year was shown to have been encoded as 1752 which would make the said person 264 years old. Still, Philhealth listed the member’s status as “active.”

There were also a total of 338,528 centenarians all born before January 1, 1901 all still listed as “active” instead of “senior citizens” on the PMD.

At the other end of  the extreme are 7,530 Philhealth members who were registered after the cutoff date of December 31, 2015.

The COA said such entries are “improbable”  and should require immediate revalidation.

It likewise recommended that the Philhealth create a mechanism in its system to automatically recognize a member as a “senior” once he or she turns 60 years old.

“The noted deficiencies though immaterial in size relative to its database were essentials in the determination of Philhealth members’ identities,” it pointed out.

The commission said such defects in the member’s record could create problems like delay in the posting of contributions and non-availment of benefits.

Peter J. G. Tabingo
Peter is a veteran journalist writing for Malaya, the number one mosquito press during the dark days of the Marcos dictatorship and among the best news dailies in the Philippines . He is a journalism graduate from the Lyceum of the Philippines University.

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