Orchard dental clinic to be taken off Chas

Jesselton Dental Centre found to have made many improper claims for govt subsidies

The termination was issued on Dec 10 and will take effect from Jan 16.
The termination was issued on Dec 10 and will take effect from Jan 16.PHOTO: JESSELTON DENTAL CENTRE/FACEBOOK

A dental clinic in the Orchard area will be removed from the Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) after it was found to have made numerous improper claims for government subsidies.

These claims made by Jesselton Dental Centre at Pacific Plaza exceeded the allowed limit for Chas subsidies and were not accompanied by proper supporting documentation, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said yesterday. "Audits on Jesselton Dental Centre conducted in late 2018 to 2019 revealed severe non-compliance," it said.

Of the over 200 claims for Chas subsidies from the clinic that were audited, about 96 per cent were found to be non-compliant, said the ministry.

The termination was issued on Dec 10 and will take effect from Saturday. MOH advised affected patients to visit other nearby Chas-accredited dental clinics instead.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, a Jesselton Dental Centre spokesman said yesterday that the claims were made by an administrative staff and a member of the clinic's management team between 2017 and 2018.

Both of them were let go immediately after they were found to have made the claims. "We are working alongside the authorities to remedy the situation. Our patients always come first," the spokesman said.

MOH said it was informed in April by the clinic in Scotts Road that its ownership and licensee had changed hands from Resilient Healthcare Group to Alliance Management Group.

"This cessation of Resilient Healthcare Group as the licensee, coupled with the extent of Jesselton Dental Centre's non-compliance, made the termination of the clinic from Chas necessary," it said.

"MOH will continue to investigate the clinic even with the change in ownership."

The clinic can still treat patients, provided its dentists hold valid registration and practising certificates from the Singapore Dental Council, but the treatment it provides will not be covered by Chas subsidies.

"MOH encourages patients to actively engage their doctors and dentists if they have any queries on their bills," said the ministry. "We also remind healthcare professionals to uphold a high standard of professionalism and adhere to their ethical code and ethical guidelines."

In October 2019, two dentists from Phoenix Dental Surgery clinic became the first to be charged with cheating through Chas. Teo Eu Gene pleaded guilty to 25 counts of cheating by submitting false Chas claims for dental procedures and was sentenced to 46 weeks' jail. His former colleague, Andy Joshua Warren, faced similar charges.

To check Chas claims made on their behalf, Chas, Pioneer Generation and Merdeka Generation card holders can log in to the "My Chas" module on the Chas website, or call the Chas hotline on 1800-275-2427.

They can also contact MOH, if they come across any suspicious or unusual claims, by calling the ministry on 1800-225-4122 or by e-mailing MOH_QSM@moh.gov.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2021, with the headline 'Orchard dental clinic to be taken off Chas'. Print Edition | Subscribe