Medic urges MPs to look at 'health scam'

Medic urges MPs to look at 'health scam'

A doctor representing 74 medical clinics on Thursday petitioned the House of Representatives to look into allegations of fraud in patient access to the universal health coverage scheme and ensure transparency in the initiative.

The move followed a Department of Health Service Support's order last week to temporarily close two Bangkok clinics for allegedly defrauding the scheme. The order came after 18 such facilities were accused of swindling 72 million baht from the scheme in patient claims.

Pongsak Srimusikapo, the representative, met opposition parties, members of the House's committee on corruption and misconduct suppression and other parliamentarians to submit a six-point proposal aimed at improving transparency in the scheme's financial management.

Among the six points was a call for an investigation into National Health Security Office (NHSO) officials, including its secretary-general, and the formation of an independent committee to study potential loopholes in the healthcare scheme. The proposal also called on the House to initiate NHSO reforms to ensure transparency and good governance. It is necessary to restore people's confidence in the clinics that have not been proved wrong, the proposal said.

Sompong Amornvivat, opposition leader, and Somboon Uthaiwiankul, secretary to House Speaker Chuan Leekpai, who received the petition, said the document will be forwarded to the House speaker and every committee concerned.

The NHSO operates the health-care scheme, which covers over 70% of the population. The office lodged a complaint against the 18 clinics in connection to fraudulent acts allegedly committed from Oct 1, 2018, to Sept 30 last year.

Police last week began investigating claims that these clinics in Bangkok made fraudulent claims for treatments which never existed.

The clinics allegedly listed false names for thousands of non-existent patients, claimed in reports they had received medical examinations, then used the reports to claim the money back.

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