In a press release on Monday (8 October), the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced the suspension of the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) participation for 10 Access Medical clinics, which will take effect from 23 October 2018.
The ministry stated that the clinics are Access (Bedok South), Access (Circuit Road), Access (East Coast), Access (Kim Keat), Access (Marine Terrace), Access (Toa Payoh), Access (Whampoa), Access (Jurong West), Access (Redhill Close), Access (Bukit Batok).
The ministry stated that audits by MOH on the CHAS claims made by these clinics have revealed severe non-compliances.
These clinics had over a period of time variously made numerous non-compliant CHAS claims such as claims for patient visits or chronic conditions with no relevant supporting documentation, it noted.
MOH stressed that it takes a serious view of errant practices in making CHAS claims.
"We have referred this case to the Police, and will also be referring specific doctors involved to the Singapore Medical Council for further investigation," it said.
Once suspended, MOH noted that these clinics can continue to provide medical treatment, but the treatment they provide will not be covered by CHAS subsidies. Patients in the affected areas may refer to the CHAS website for alternative CHAS clinics in the vicinity.
Associate Professor Benjamin Ong, Director of Medical Services, said, “MOH closely monitors claims submitted by clinics, and will not hesitate to take action where there are cases of significant non-compliance. In line with the Singapore Medical Council’s Ethical Code and Ethical Guidelines, doctors cannot abuse the doctor-patient relationship for personal gain."
"We remind all doctors to act in the best interest of the patient and uphold the highest standards of professionalism. The majority of CHAS clinics comply with the guidelines, and we value their support in helping to make care in the community more affordable and accessible for Singaporeans," he added.
MOH also encourages CHAS patients to actively engage their doctors and dentists if they have any queries on their bills. If members of the public come across any suspicious or unusual CHAS claims made for them, they can contact MOH (1800-225-4122).