SINGAPORE - Three clinics have been served notices for making Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) claims for consultations and treatments that were not performed.
The clinics - Bedok Day & Night Clinic, Jurong Day & Night Clinic and MW Medical Centre at Cross Street - will have their Chas accreditation suspended if they do not provide a satisfactory explanation to the Ministry of Health (MOH) in two weeks, MOH said in a press release on Tuesday (May 9).
MOH's audits of the clinics' claims revealed that the three clinics had made numerous non-compliant Chas claims, including claims for consultations and treatments that were not performed.
Chas is a scheme that provides subsidies for medical and dental care for Singaporeans from lower to middle-income households and Pioneer Generation citizens.
If their Chas participation is suspended, doctors at the clinics can continue to provide medical treatment, but will not be able to submit Chas claims on behalf of their patients.
MOH in its release said it takes a serious view of such errant practices and has referred the cases to the police. It will also be referring the doctors suspected of being involved to Singapore Medical Council for further investigations.
Chas was introduced by MOH in 2012 and provides subsidised care at about 950 General Practitioner and 700 dental clinics islandwide to about 1.3 million Singaporeans who hold Chas or Pioneer Generation cards.
MOH in its release encouraged Chas patients to check with their doctors and dentists if they have queries about their bills. Those who find any suspicious or unusual claims can contact MOH at 1800-225-4122.
To check the Chas claims submitted by a clinic, log into the "MY CHAS" module on the Chas website at www.chas.sg, or call the Chas hotline at 1800-275-2427.
Associate Professor Benjamin Ong, director of medical services, said Chas has helped make subsidised primary care more accessible, and Chas claims submitted by clinics are closely monitored by MOH.
"The majority of our Chas clinics comply with the rules and guidelines," he said. "When there are cases of significant non-compliance, MOH will not hesitate to take action."
He reminded doctors of their duty to adhere to the highest standard of professionalism and to always act in the best interest of the patient.
"The Singapore Medical Council's Ethical Code and Ethical Guidelines state that doctors cannot abuse the doctor-patient relationship for personal gain," he said.