Bangkok clinics in 72 million baht fraud scandal


The National Health Security Office has registered a complaint against 18 clinics in Bangkok, and thousands of patients will be questioned by police investigating an alleged 72 million baht in fraudulent claims under the government’s 30 baht scheme, also known as the “gold card” scheme. Police said yesterday that as many as 10,000 patients of the rogue clinics may be asked to provide information.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul says the clinics could ace criminal charges and will be sued to recover the damage caused to the state budget if found to have acted fraudulently.

Clinics join the NHSO by treating patients from their communities under the Chum Chon Ob Oon (Community Warmth) project. Residents in the communities get free checkups, with the cost covered by the NHSO. The initiative was created to reduce the workload on hospitals, using the clinics for frontline treatment. Clinics in Bangkok and provinces throughout the country have joined the scheme.

The alleged fraud was detected by an NHSO panel sifting through records of spending by the clinics from October 2018 to September last year. It was made public by a Pheu Thai Party MP for Bangkok. He says clinics listed false names for nonexistent patients who supposedly received medical examinations, and used them to claim reimbursements from the NHSO.

The complaint also alleges the clinics changed the health records of some patients, adding false information so they could claim additional reimbursement. For example, the record of a patient with a normal body mass index might be changed to indicate a greater health risk so the clinic could get more money.

The NHSO could terminate its contract with the clinics, but this would more than 200,000 members of the health care scheme would need to find new clinics to attend.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Newsday 24

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