Hospital worker passes blame for lost checks

07/29/2010 - A HOSPITAL billing officer charged with the loss of 28 Philhealth checks worth over P24,000 in the Cebu City Medical Center has passed the blame to an employee of the treasurer’s office.

Ma. Lourdes Archua said treasury employee Mary Grace Lopez was assigned to the hospital's billing section “to take charge of all Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) transactions.”

Archua, who is facing administrative charges for gross neglect of duty, submitted her affidavit through lawyer Gloria Lastimosa-Dalawampu.

Archua was placed on 30-day preventive suspension based on a recommendation of a panel headed by City Attorney Joseph Bernaldez.

The PhilHealth checks were released to a certain Ruth Adlawan, who posed as a PhilHealth trainee.

Archua said despite being a billing section chief, she does not supervise Lopez, an employee of the City Treasurer’s Office.

She said it is Lopez who receives PhilHealth checks, signs the receiving clerk's logbook and verifies the names of PhilHealth beneficiary patients in the CCMC.

Archua also said it is Lopez who prepares the transmittal letter to Dr. Go to be sent to the CTO.

Archua explained that she only verifies the authenticity of the checks and transmittal letter.

“If the Philhealth check payments were Archua's duty and function, then it would have been Archua who would sign the transmittal letter, not just affix an initial, for approval of the Chief of Hospital (Dr. Go),” her lawyer said.

Archua urged the Cebu City Hall panel to investigate Ben Colong of the Office of the Building Official for encashing six of the 28 checks.

But City Attorney Bernaldez said Colong may be tapped by the panel as a witness in the case instead.(Inquirer.net)

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