Singapore

Dentist suspended a year for making false Medisave claims for patient

Doctor went along with patient's request to make claims to cover implant cost

A dentist will be suspended for one year for going along with a patient's suggestion to make false Medisave claims to cover the cost of her dental implants.

The Singapore Dental Council (SDC) said this is the first case "involving deception to obtain unauthorised Medisave withdrawals".

The woman had seen Dr Steven Ang Kiam Hau of The Smile Division Dental Surgeons@Orchard in 2014. He recommended four implants for her which would have cost $22,100.

Medisave would not have covered the total cost, so she suggested that he make more claims against her husband's Medisave Account to cover the difference.

Two months later, the woman changed her mind about the implants. Dr Ang then returned the money he had claimed from Medisave to the couple.

But the woman then made a complaint about him to SDC in December 2014.

Dr Ang said he made the false claims only because he wanted to help the woman. He claimed to have performed 11 implants on her and 11 on her husband between Aug 15 and Sept 30, 2014.

But an audit by the Ministry of Health found no clinical notes to support his claim of having done 22 implants.

Even though the suggestion to make the false claims came from the patient, and he had returned the money, SDC's disciplinary committee said Dr Ang's conduct was dishonest and merited suspension.

It said: "The Medisave scheme relies on the honesty and integrity of approved medical practitioners to make accurate and genuine claims."

Shortly before the disciplinary hearing on April 4 this year, Dr Ang pleaded guilty to the four charges.

His lawyer said in mitigation that Dr Ang had been altruistic, had not harmed the patient and had made full restitution to the patient "prior to her complaint being lodged".

The SDC's counsel asked for a 12-month suspension and a fine of $25,000, given the dishonesty involved.

Dr Ang is one of three dentists at the Smile clinic who, together with the company's manager, were charged last year with cheating the CPF Board by submitting fraudulent Medisave claims.

Where Dr Ang is concerned, the charge is for an amount totalling $434,241. The case has not been heard in court yet.

It is not known if any action is being taken against the couple.

MEDICAL & HEALTH