Medical industry's rogue agents: Disguise kickbacks, target private docs after MOH clampdown

They now disguise kickbacks, target private docs after MOH clampdown

A group of local agents act as middlemen for foreign agents seeking medical services for their clients, allegedly working with doctors to inflate patients' medical bills. The Straits Times reveals how deals are made behind closed doors.
A medical agent, a dialysis technician at a private hospital here, asking a doctor in his office for a commission over a case the agent had earlier referred to the doctor, insisting it was the industry norm. PHOTO: COURTESY OF ST READER
A medical agent, a dialysis technician at a private hospital here, asking a doctor in his office for a commission over a case the agent had earlier referred to the doctor, insisting it was the industry norm. PHOTO: COURTESY OF ST READER

Medical agents who recommend patients to doctors in Singapore and charge a referral fee for their third-party role are now disguising the kickbacks they receive as marketing charges.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) last year put a stop to the practice of public hospitals paying referral fees to foreign agents after it emerged that three public hospitals here had contracts with third-party agents.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 20, 2019, with the headline 'Medical industry's rogue agents'. Subscribe