Doctor urges investigation into widespread healthcare fraud

PHOTO: Dr Pongsak Srimusikapo - Facebook

A doctor representing 74 medical clinics yesterday petitioned the House of Representatives to investigate fraud allegations in patient access to Thailand’s universal health coverage scheme and ensure transparency in its implementation. The move follows an order by the Department of Health Service Support last week to temporarily close 2 Bangkok clinics for allegedly defrauding the scheme. That order came after 18 such facilities were accused of swindling 72 million baht from the scheme in patient claims.

Dr Pongsak Srimusikapo met opposition parties, members of the House’s committee on corruption and misconduct suppression and other officials, and submitted a 6 point proposal aimed at improving transparency in the scheme’s financial management.

The proposal included a call for an investigation into National Health Security Office officials, including its secretary-general, and the creation of an independent committee to study loopholes in the healthcare scheme. The proposal also called on the House to make NHSO reforms to ensure transparency and good governance. According to the proposal, it’s necessary to restore people’s confidence in the clinics that have not been proved wrong.

Opposition leader Sompong Amornvivat and Somboon Uthaiwiankul, secretary to House Speaker Chuan Leekpai, who received the petition, said the document will be forwarded to the Speaker and all committees concerned.

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The NHSO operates the healthcare scheme, which covers more than 70% of Thailand’s population. The office filed a complaint against the 18 clinics in connection with fraudulent acts allegedly committed from October 1, 2018 to September 30 last year. Police last week began investigating claims that Bangkok clinics made fraudulent claims for treatments which never happened.

The clinics allegedly listed false names for thousands of nonexistent patients, claimed in reports they had received medical examinations, then used the reports to claim “reimbursement”.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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