64 clinics cut off over alleged graft

64 clinics cut off over alleged graft

Patients told to seek other NHSO partners

The National Health Security Office (NHSO) has terminated contracts with 64 clinics and hospitals for their alleged involvement in graft, and asked 800,000 patients affected by the contract terminations to seek state medical care and services at nearby partner clinics.

The NHSO's move was prompted by a probe into allegations that dozens of clinics in Bangkok and surrounding provinces made fraudulent financial claims for services that did not exist.

The termination of the contracts took effect on Friday.

The NHSO, which operates the universal coverage (UC) healthcare scheme covering 70% of the population, has signed contracts with health clinics to provide free health checks on common ailments for the public since 2010. It sets aside about 250 million baht per year to feed the scheme.

NHSO deputy secretary-general Karun Khuntiranont said about 800,000 people who are registered with these 64 medical clinics and hospitals will continue to receive medical services after the contract termination. They can stop by any medical service units that are partnered with the NHSO until new contracts are assigned.

Dr Karun said the NHSO has asked the other healthcare centres to make preparations for a surge in patients and the office is looking for new partners for the UC healthcare scheme.

NHSO deputy secretary-general Athaporn Limpanyalert said the contract terminations will affect many healthcare recipients and the office has placed measures to ensure their medical needs are addressed.

He said among those who need urgent help are in-patients scheduled for operations, 32-week pregnant women and kidney patients who need dialysis treatments. He said those who have questions can contact the NHSO via its Hotline 1330, Facebook page or through the Line chat application.

The NHSO initially probed 45 clinics for allegedly making fraudulent claims and found 18 of them in the wrong. Another 86 clinics and hospitals were examined in the extended probe and 66 were found in the wrong. Currently it is investigating 107 more.

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