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Hospitals to be shut down if found involved in fraud: minister

Hospitals to be shut down if found involved in fraud: minister

Taipei, Dec. 30 (CNA) After three doctors were found to have colluded with patients to defraud insurance companies, the Department of Health (DOH) minister said Wednesday that the DOH will order the hospitals at which they work to suspend operations if they are found to have concealed information about illegal conduct by their doctors.
Yaung Chih-liang told reporters that he was pained to learn that the three doctors have been indicted for fraud.
They are Yang Chao-jan, a physician at the DOH-run Keelung Hospital; Lai Teh-hsing, a surgeon at Yee Zen General Hospital in Taoyuan County; and Wu Kuo-ching, a surgeon at St. Joseph's Hospital in Yunlin County.
Their licenses to practice were rescinded after evidence was seized by law-enforcement personnel and they all confessed to having colluded with a fraud ring since 2003, making fake medical treatment records and surgery reports to claim cancer payments from life insurance companies, according to the DOH.
Seven other individuals who acted as "patients" in the cases were also indicted by the Taoyuan District Prosecutors Office for fraud.
Aside from the defendants, another four doctors practicing in other hospitals were also listed as suspects, Yaung said.
If the hospitals where the law-breaking doctors worked are discovered to have deliberately hidden information about their illegal practices, the facilities will be punished and might even be forced to close, Yaung noted.
A local newspaper report said that day that the fraud in the medical sector -- in which doctors were stealing samples from cancer patients to perform surgery on non-cancer sufferers to make fraudulent insurance claims -- might have involved more than 10 hospitals and funds of over NT$1 billion.
The case promoted the DOH to take the rare action of sanctioning the doctors before the court's ruling, the reports said.
(By Chen Lin-ting and Elizabeth Hsu)