GP clinic suspended from Chas for non-compliant claims

Patients can continue seeking treatment at Joash Family Clinic and Surgery in Upper Serangoon Road, but the treatment will not be covered by Community Health Assist Scheme subsidies from April 26.
Patients can continue seeking treatment at Joash Family Clinic and Surgery in Upper Serangoon Road, but the treatment will not be covered by Community Health Assist Scheme subsidies from April 26.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

A private general practitioner clinic will be suspended from participating in the Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) for making severe non-compliant claims, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a press statement yesterday.

The suspension will take effect from April 26.

Joash Family Clinic and Surgery in Upper Serangoon Road was subject to an in-depth audit prior to suspension and was found to have made claims without corresponding consultations or patient visits, the MOH told The Straits Times.

The non-compliant claims were submitted by the clinic between 2015 and 2016.

MOH has referred the case to the police. The doctors from the clinic will also be referred to the Singapore Medical Council if found guilty of any medical mismanagement or unethical behaviour, the statement said.

Chas currently subsidises medical and dental care at GP and dental clinics for lower-and middle-income Singaporeans, as well as those from the Pioneer Generation (PG), which refers to Singaporeans who were aged 16 and older in 1965.

While under suspension, the clinic can continue accepting patients, but the treatment it provides will not be covered by Chas subsidies.

Chas patients of the suspended clinic may also refer to the Chas website at www.chas.sg for alternative Chas clinics in the area.

 
 
 

"MOH takes a serious view of breaches of our Chas guidelines and will not hesitate to take action where non-compliance is uncovered," said the statement.

"We also remind healthcare professionals to uphold a high standard of professionalism and adhere to their ethical code and ethical guidelines."

Currently, there are more than 1,050 Chas GP clinics and 700 dental clinics islandwide.

Since Chas was launched in 2012, 15 clinics have been suspended from the scheme, and they remain suspended till today. In October last year, 10 clinics under the Access Medical group were suspended from the Chas scheme for making numerous non-compliant claims.

The statement said that the ministry closely monitored clinics' Chas claims and that most Chas clinics complied with its guidelines.

Chas and PG card holders who wish to check the Chas subsidies that clinics have claimed for them may do so by logging in to the "My Chas" module on the Chas website, or by calling the Chas hotline on 1800-275-2427.

They can also contact MOH if they come across any suspicious or unusual claims.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2019, with the headline 'GP clinic suspended from Chas for non-compliant claims'. Print Edition | Subscribe