Restart practice of random audits on clinics

When the use of Medisave for medical claims for chronic diseases was first cleared several years ago, the authorities randomly picked many clinics and carried out audits and checks on them.

Mine was audited three times in a space of two years.

Clinics were also scheduled for inspections by Ministry of Health (MOH) officials to ensure that they complied with best practice methods.

A detailed and stringent checklist on all facets of clinic management, using administrative and clinical parameters, needed to be passed before the MOH was satisfied with the clinic's functionality.

Being sometimes blind to their own deficiencies, doctors welcomed this incisive and thoroughly objective assessment of their practice. Clinics complied and were better off for it.

It must be because of the sheer workload that these audits have stopped. They seem to have ended after the majority of GP clinics applied to be on the Community Health Assist and Pioneer Generation schemes.

Random audits and inspections are preferred to ministry and police investigations (Steps to boost transparency of Chas bills; May 15).

They correct weaknesses in the clinics and doctors' misapplication of charges that occurred not through cheating or incompetence, but through sheer ignorance and inadvertence.

Rather than put resources into the investigation of fraud and shenanigans, perhaps the authorities should beef up their random audit capabilities.

It is far better to forewarn doctors than to charge them when it is really too late.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 20, 2017, with the headline 'Restart practice of random audits on clinics'. Print Edition | Subscribe