Authorities target fraud in healthcare

Updated: Oct 9, 2021 China Daily Print
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Authorities in China have stepped up efforts to crack down on crimes that defraud healthcare security funds, with 3,819 suspects arrested during the past five months, the Ministry of Public Security said on Oct 8.

By the end of September, police nationwide had also cracked 1,246 such cases, recovering 230 million yuan ($35.6 million), and cooperated with medical insurance administrators to shut down 277 medical institutions, according to the ministry.

Zhang Ming, spokeswoman of the ministry, said that with the scale of the national healthcare security system expanding in recent years, the incidence of crimes related to the fund has become frequent.

On April 9, the ministry, the National Healthcare Security Administration and the National Health Commission jointly deployed an operation targeting the cheating of healthcare security funds.

"Crimes of defrauding healthcare security funds have been curbed to some extent, but the situation is still serious, and the criminals keep revamping their crime methods," said Wang Yongming, an inspector of the ministry's criminal investigation bureau.

Wang said some designated hospitals for healthcare security funds lured middle-aged and elderly people who are not eligible into hospitalization for profits, then hospital staff fabricated medical records and falsely reported their purchases.

To ensure the success of the operation, authorities are studying extending the campaign to the end of 2022, Wang said.

"Given that there is a large price gap between using the healthcare security fund account to buy drugs and the resale prices, some people have used various methods to illegally earn money," said Xu Chenglei, an inspector of the ministry's food and drug investigation bureau.

Some people set up stalls around the hospital to collect drugs purchased with the healthcare security fund or even cheat drugs from the hospital by using others' healthcare security accounts, Xu said.

This year, public security organs have resolved more than 300 cases of illegal sales of drugs on the list of the healthcare security system, and arrested about 1,000 suspects, involving more than 1.16 billion yuan, said Xu, who also reminded the public not to buy drugs from illegal channels or sell drugs to drug dealers or give or rent healthcare security cards to others.

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