MOH suspends 2 dental clinics from Chas scheme for fraud probe
THE Ministry of Health (MOH) will suspend two dental clinics from offering subsidised care to middle- and lower-income Singaporeans and the Pioneer Generation because of possible dental fraud.
The two are Phoenix Dental Surgery clinics at Ang Mo Kio and Marine Parade. The suspension begins on July 8 for an indefinite period.
A statement from the MOH yesterday said it had referred the matter to the police for investigation into possible criminal offences.
The Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) subsidises pioneers and citizens whose per capita monthly household income is $1,800 or less, for treatments at private medical and dental clinics.
The doctor or dentist makes a claim for the subsidy on behalf of the patient, and the amount is deducted from the patient's bill.
For dental treatment, subsidies, which are paid by the Government, range from $11 to $266.50.
The MOH said the two clinics had continuously made claims that breached MOH rules and guidelines. This included making claims for procedures that were not carried out.
Although the clinics will not be able to offer patients the subsidy, they may continue operating. According to its website, the two clinics were set up by dentists Dr Teo Eu Gene and Dr Cheng Jean-Lynn and employs four other dentists. None was contactable yesterday.
The clinics can regain their Chas status once they have rectified the faulty claims and can reassure the MOH that they will comply in the future.
The results of the police investigation will also be taken into account.
This is the first time a clinic has been suspended from the Chas scheme. About 1,500 GP and dental clinics are on the scheme which helped 650,000 Singaporeans last year.
The Straits Times understands that several other dental clinics are also under investigation for inappropriate claims.
The ministry does regular audits of participating clinics and finds that most "are compliant".
It said non-compliance can sometimes be due to simple administrative errors, such as recording dates wrongly.
The MOH added that cases that involve "potential professional misconduct" will be referred to the professional body for disciplinary action.
It added: "For cases where criminal misconduct is suspected, the cases will be referred to the police."