Med­i­cal frauds by char­i­ties face se­vere penal­ties

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By LI LEI lilei@chi­

The Min­istry of Civil Af­fairs will strengthen over­sight of non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions that run med­i­cal as­sis­tance pro­grams, and warned of se­vere pun­ish­ments for those prof­it­ing from such pro­grams, ac­cord­ing to a cir­cu­lar re­leased by the min­istry re­cently.

The move fol­lowed scan­dals that some hospi­tals and en­ter­prises, which claimed to of­fer char­i­ta­ble med­i­cal as­sis­tance, in­vited pa­tients to “des­ig­nated hospi­tals” where they were charged high med­i­cal fees, the cir­cu­lar said.

Bei­jing Youth Daily re­ported in Septem­ber that Xinglin Care Fund, a char­ity au­tho­rized by China Char­ity Fed­er­a­tion to help poor pa­tients with cere­bral palsy and epilepsy, lured them to a pri­vate hos­pi­tal in Bei­jing with the prom­ise of free treat­ment and a high suc­cess rate.

But many pa­tients ended up spend­ing up to 70,000 yuan ($10,100), the pa­per said.

The min­istry said in the cir­cu­lar that prof­it­ing from pa­tients is against the doc­trine of char­i­ta­ble ac­tiv­i­ties and will cause pa­tients more harm.

To put an end to such in­ci­dents, the min­istry asked lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to carry out an in­spec­tion for char­i­ties that run med­i­cal pro­grams, es­pe­cially those in­volv­ing des­ig­nated hospi­tals, ac­cord­ing to the cir­cu­lar.

Chan­nels should be open for the pub­lic to lodge com­plaints, and those fac­ing com­plaints should be put un­der scrutiny, the cir­cu­lar said.

Those found to have forced or lured pa­tients to buy med­i­cal ser­vices or prod­ucts with higher than ap­proved prices would face pun­ish­ments in­clud­ing be­ing black­listed, it said.

The min­istry also asked char­i­ties to as­sess their part­ner hospi­tals re­gard­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tion, price and feed­back from pa­tients, and make ex­plicit who their ben­e­fi­cia­ries are and what as­sis­tance they are en­ti­tled to, it said.

Charites were also asked to cut ties with hospi­tals that were found to in­crease med­i­cal fees ar­bi­trar­ily or prof­it­ing from un­nec­es­sary tests.

Gov­ern­ment over­sight will also be stronger for pro­grams that claim to help the poor, the aged, or­phans or those who can­not af­ford school­ing, the cir­cu­lar said.

Wang Rui, founder of Bei­jing Union Char­ity Foun­da­tion, a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion help­ing ru­ral pa­tients with long dis­tance med­i­cal con­sul­tancy, hailed the min­istry’s ef­fort to crack down on such mis­deeds, but said the min­istry alone is not enough to solve the prob­lem for good.

“Med­i­cal fraud is evil in it­self, not to men­tion car­ry­ing it out in the name of char­ity. The fraud­u­lent or­ga­ni­za­tions should face crim­i­nal charges, not just pun­ish­ments from the min­istry,” he said, adding he ex­pects a joint op­er­a­tion from the min­istry and the pub­lic se­cu­rity de­part­ments.

Med­i­cal fraud is evil in it­self, not to men­tion car­ry­ing it out in the name of char­ity.” Wang Rui, founder of Bei­jing Union Char­ity Foun­da­tion

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