Hundreds of Bangkok community clinics probed for embezzlement
Eighteen community clinics in Bangkok found to have embezzled money from the universal healthcare budget will be punished, the National Health Security Office (NHSO) said today.
The announcement comes after an investigation of 86 healthcare facilities revealed irregularities in metabolism treatments for universal healthcare (gold card) holders. Sixty-three of the clinics were found to have falsely reported treatments, while officials at 18 clinics face the more serious charge of embezzlement.
The 18 clinics saw their budget suspended and were ordered to pay compensation totalling Bt74 million. The office has received Bt60 million in compensation since June 30 while the Medical Council is investigating possible breaches of duty at the clinics.
The NHSO has helped transfer affected patients to other clinics and asked the Department of Special Investigation to begin legal procedures.
The 63 clinics charged with falsely reporting treatments have been ordered to pay Bt2.4 million in compensation, though 11 have demanded the right to appeal.
NHSO secretary-general Sakchai Kanjanawatana said investigators found little evidence to back clinics’ claims of having treated so many patients. A health committee for 13 districts in Bangkok will tomorrow (July 16) demand compensation and launch inspections of the 63 clinics from July 30 to August 11.
NHSO deputy secretary-general Karoon Kuntiranont said the number of irregularities found at the 63 clinics indicated they may be intentional, and if the committee saw evidence of corruption, there would severe consequences.
The inspections would be expanded to the remaining 193 community clinics in Bangkok and its vicinity to prevent further corruption, he added.
Government budget for 52 treatments will be suspended until all fees at Bangkok clinics were inspected, he said.