SINGAPORE: A dentist was on Wednesday (Jun 3) sentenced to more than 10 months' jail for cheating polyclinics of more than S$18,000 in false claims under the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS).
Teo Eu Gene, 36, pleaded guilty to 25 charges of cheating, with another 35 charges taken into consideration.
Between Aug 4, 2014 and Oct 19, 2015, Teo submitted 25 CHAS claims for dental procedures, some of which he had not performed, said the police in a news release.
The total disbursement for these claims was S$31,583, of which S$18,618.50 was for "fictitious purposes", said the police, adding that Teo has been sentenced to 46 weeks' jail.
FALSE CHAS CLAIMS
Teo was a former dentist with Phoenix Dental Surgery, a dental chain consisting of two clinics at Ang Mo Kio and Marine Parade.
Each clinic operated under a limited exempt private company, with Teo and his wife being the directors and shareholders of both companies since their incorporation in 2014.
Besides treating patients as a dentist, Teo managed the schedules of other dentists and approved their leave applications, and was also Phoenix Dental Surgery’s liaison with the Ministry of Health (MOH).
Unlike the other dentists at Phoenix Dental Surgery who do not perform administrative work, which is handled by clinic staff members, Teo also submitted his own claims under CHAS.
Both of Phoenix Dental Surgery’s clinics were participating clinics under CHAS, which entitles patients undergoing selected dental treatments at participating clinics to subsidies.
The subsidy amount is deducted from the patient's bill, with the clinic then submitting a claim to the Government for the subsidy.
On behalf of MOH, two polyclinic groups, SingHealth Polyclinics and National Healthcare Group Polyclinics, process and reimburse CHAS claims from participating clinics.
According to court documents, about 60 per cent of Teo's patients paid for their treatment at Phoenix Dental Surgery using CHAS.
INFLATED NUMBER OF PROCEDURES
In 2016, both Phoenix Dental Surgery clinics were suspended from participating in CHAS after audits by MOH.
The ministry had made a report on Apr 22, 2016, alleging that Teo and another dentist of Phoenix Dental Surgery, Andy Joshua Warren, had cheated the polyclinics into disbursing subsidies under CHAS.
MOH alleged that Teo and Andy Joshua Warren did not perform some of the procedures for their patients as submitted in their CHAS claims.
Investigations revealed that Teo inflated the number of procedures he had actually performed on his patients, specifically for tooth-coloured fillings, curettage, extractions, denture repair and denture reline.
To avoid detection, he substantiated his inflated claims by adding false dental procedures into his patients’ medical case notes.
A total of 25 dishonest claims were made across 15 patients, with the total CHAS claim sum per patient ranging from S$360 to S$2,834.
According to court documents, Teo made restitution of S$20,676 to the polyclinics in 2016 for the claims covered in MOH’s letter of findings dated Apr 13, 2016 and May 27, 2016.
Teo has since provided an undertaking to make full restitution to the polyclinics.