Healthway group offered $600k to pay docs' salaries

At least seven Healthway Medical Corp clinics were left without a doctor on Monday, including this one in Tampines Street 21 (far left). Others, like Silver Cross Family Clinic in Holland Avenue, put up signs on the entrance. A spokesman said that ev
At least seven Healthway Medical Corp clinics were left without a doctor on Monday, including this one in Tampines Street 21 (above). Others, like Silver Cross Family Clinic in Holland Avenue, put up signs on the entrance. A spokesman said that even in the absence of a doctor, the clinics can still dispense non-prescription drugs.ST PHOTOS: LAU FOOK KONG, LINETTE LAI
At least seven Healthway Medical Corp clinics were left without a doctor on Monday, including this one in Tampines Street 21 (far left). Others, like Silver Cross Family Clinic in Holland Avenue, put up signs on the entrance. A spokesman said that ev
At least seven Healthway Medical Corp clinics were left without a doctor on Monday, including this one in Tampines Street 21. Others, like Silver Cross Family Clinic in Holland Avenue, put up signs on the entrance. A spokesman said that even in the absence of a doctor, the clinics can still dispense non-prescription drugs.ST PHOTOS: LAU FOOK KONG, LINETTE LAI

Make Health Connect says sum is advance payment, but troubled firm says it was due to receive it anyway

The third-party administrator for 39 Healthway Medical Corp clinics (HMC) said it has offered a $600,000 lifeline to Healthway over its current financial woes.

Make Health Connect (MHC) said the sum is an advance payment and is sufficient to cover the salaries of doctors from the 39 clinics for two months.

HMC employs a variety of medical professionals. These include general practitioners, dentists and specialists.

"Our clients go to the clinics and realise that there is no doctor, and they ask us what to do," said Dr Low Lee Yong, chief executive officer of MHC. "This way, we are saving some jobs so that the clinics won't be affected and patient services won't be disrupted."

According to its website, MHC is a company that processes medical claims, among other services.

Typically, part of the doctors' wages comes from patients' insurance reimbursements or corporate claims. Dr Low said these payments usually take 70 to 90 days to process.

 

He is offering to help pay doctors' salaries in advance, before the claims have been processed.

When The Straits Times raised the issue of the $600,000 that was offered by MHC as advance payment, a spokesman for HMC said that it was due to receive the sum of money anyway.

The spokesman said: "There is no white knight scenario as HMC is merely collecting the money owed to HMC from one of its working parties. This amount was part of receivables anyway."

HMC, which runs around 90 clinics, has been experiencing financial woes since losing millions of dollars in questionable loans to two entities. Last weekend, the company announced that it had not paid the salaries of its doctors and senior management for February, which amounted to $3.9 million.

The Straits Times found that at least seven HMC general practitioner clinics were left without a doctor on Monday. Others, like Silver Cross Family Clinic in Holland Avenue, had put up signs on the door saying that the clinic was closed because there was no doctor on duty.

The HMC spokesman said that even in the absence of a doctor, the clinics can still dispense non- prescription drugs.

He added that three clinics will be without doctors today. "Doctors for those three clinics are overseas on annual leave and HMC is working on getting locums for these three clinics," said the spokesman.

Mrs Esther Tong, a 43-year-old pre-school teacher, accompanied her mother to Peace Family Clinic and Surgery in Ang Mo Kio yesterday, but was told that no doctor was available.

"We have been coming to this clinic for the last year or so, and the doctors and staff here are very kind," Mrs Tong said. "It is a shame they are not doing well."

•Additional reporting by Annika Mock

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 15, 2017, with the headline 'Healthway group offered $600k to pay docs' salaries'. Print Edition | Subscribe