Last dentist involved in MediSave scam struck off dental register

Former dentist Cecil Goh Chin Chye seen arriving at court in July 2021. He is currently serving a three-year jail term. ST FILE PHOTO

SINGAPORE - A dentist serving a three-year jail term for defrauding the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board has been struck off the official dental register after a disciplinary inquiry by the Singapore Dental Council (SDC).

This means Cecil Goh Chin Chye, 53, will not be able to practise after he is released from jail.

The watchdog for dental professionals said on Tuesday that it held a disciplinary inquiry on Sept 29 against Goh, who was the former managing director of The Smile Division Dental Group (TSD).

He faced 12 charges under the Dental Registration Act for having been convicted of offences involving dishonesty. He had conspired to cheat the CPF Board of monies from patients’ CPF accounts for treatments that were not performed, and pleaded guilty to all 12 charges.

Noting that his conduct and convictions had brought disrepute to the dental profession, the watchdog’s disciplinary committee ordered that Goh pay the full costs and expenses of the proceedings, as well as those incidental to the proceedings, including the costs of counsel for the SDC.

His removal from the Register of Dentists took effect from Monday.

The SDC, in its statement, urged all dental professionals to be cognisant of the laws and regulations governing dental practices, and to comply with the provisions of the code of ethics of the profession as well as directives and guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Goh was one of four TSD staff involved in a fraud scheme which was devised in 2009.

The clinic had offered less well-off patients lower rates for day surgery than those charged by other clinics. Fraudulent MediSave claims were then submitted on behalf of the patients for dental procedures performed on them.

The four employees provided claims to the CPF Board for dental procedures performed on their patients that were purportedly performed over several days. In reality, each procedure was done on a single day, or at most two days.

The claim that the procedures were done over several days was intended to circumvent the daily MediSave withdrawal limits set by MOH and make it possible for the patients’ treatments to be paid for in full by MediSave.

The conspirators would then make multiple claims and receive the amounts from the patients’ MediSave accounts. They took nearly $1 million from 29 patients’ MediSave accounts.

In August 2021, Goh was sentenced to three years’ jail for scamming nine patients of $288,900.

Another colleague, Yeo Meow Koon, the former practice manager of TSD, was sentenced to 48 weeks’ jail in 2020. She was not a dentist.

There were two other dentists involved – Daniel Liew Yaoxiang and Steven Ang Kiam Hau, who devised the scheme. Liew was jailed for two years in May 2019. Ang was sentenced to 2½ years’ jail in August 2018. They were also struck off the dental register.

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