Sunday, September 30, 2018

Paying Kickbacks In Our Healthcare System

Latest news on the front page of the Sunday Times today revealed that three local hospitals have contracts with foreign agents referring patients from overseas. And this is just the public hospitals. What about the private hospitals?

What was shocking was that the agents received 8 percent of the patient's hospital bill, excluding doctors' fees. If a foreign patient's fees comes up to a hundred thousand dollars, that means the foreign agent who referred the patient pockets $8000. Very profitable indeed.
Today online on 040618
Our health care system has already been rocked by similar unethical news earlier in June this year, when there was an article in the Today online paper regarding Physiotherapists in private practices paying kickbacks to get patients. Subsequently, all physiotherapists received a circular from the Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) reminding us not to engage in such behavior.

Back in 2016, doctors were not allowed by the Singapore Medical Council  to pay fees to third party administrators as fees were inflated. In fact Fullerton Healthcare's IPO plans went up in smoke after Singapore regulators received many letters outlining concerns regarding their business model of receiving third party administrator fees as the main driver of their revenue. Guess which clinics are owned by Fullerton Healthcare?

It is precisely behavior like this that leads to increases in health insurance fees and our Medisave-approved Integrated shield plans.

There have been rumors about physiotherapists in private practices paying doctors to get patients all along. Include doctors to the list too. Let's hope there is no more unethical behavior regarding healthcare professionals after this.

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