Corruption at 190 clinics

Corruption at 190 clinics

A busy waiting area at Buddhachinaraj Hospital in Phitsanulok on Oct 1. The hospital has since launched a pilot project that allows patients to collect medicine at the chemists near their homes to shorten queues. CHINNAWAT SINGHA
A busy waiting area at Buddhachinaraj Hospital in Phitsanulok on Oct 1. The hospital has since launched a pilot project that allows patients to collect medicine at the chemists near their homes to shorten queues. CHINNAWAT SINGHA

Corruption was found by the National Health Security Office (NHSO) after 190 affiliated clinics and hospitals in Bangkok falsely billed it for medical treatment that never took place.

The NHSO launched an inquiry after being told about the scam early this year and terminated its contracts with the 190 clinics, affecting 1.7 million universal healthcare card holders in Bangkok and involving 195 million baht.

At least 80,000 people were falsely said to have sought screening for metabolism diseases, a service granted by the NHSO to stop the growing number of people living with non-communicable illnesses. The termination of the contracts left nearly two million universal healthcare card holders in the capital seeking alternative clinics for treatment.

Meanwhile, the NHSO plans to find at least 500 new clinics and drugstores to replace the corrupt ones.

In the past, patients covered by the "Gold Card" universal healthcare scheme had to go to the clinic or hospital they had registered with in their neighbourhood.

If they needed to go to a larger hospital, they had to apply for transfer papers.

The NHSO has also taken this opportunity to upgrade its service.

For example, universal healthcare cardholders can now visit other clinics in Bangkok, not only the one they were registered with, which increases options for patients.

Cancer sufferers, meanwhile, can be treated at any cancer institute nationwide and don't need permission to transfer from the hospital they registered with in the first place.

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