Use computer algorithms to find patterns indicating Chas fraud

It is hardly surprising that three general practitioner (GP) clinics are being investigated for making fraudulent claims from the Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) (Three clinics under probe over errant Chas claims; May 10).

As there are about 950 GP clinics serving an estimated 1.3 million Singaporeans who are eligible for Chas subsidies, the likelihood of unscrupulous doctors making false or excessive claims cannot be ignored.

In 2015, 650,000 Singaporeans received Chas subsidies amounting to $167 million of public funds.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) needs to conduct regular audits on GPs to ensure compliance with Chas guidelines.

Requiring GPs and dentists to issue itemised bills to patients for Chas subsidies is also a concrete step towards enhancing greater fee transparency and helping patients better understand the treatments and subsidies they receive.

A comprehensive breakdown of consultation fees, medication and minor procedures will enable the MOH to use a data-collection system, whose algorithms are able to sieve out unusual patterns.

Fraud is worth the risk only when carried out on a large scale. Over time, a certain shape and pattern will emerge.

Such fraud can be a massive drain on taxpayers' money which is meant for patient care.

The MOH needs to stamp out cheating in Chas claims in order to achieve the quality of efficient healthcare that our country so badly needs.

Edmund Khoo Kim Hock

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2017, with the headline 'Use computer algorithms to find patterns indicating Chas fraud'. Print Edition | Subscribe