Vietnam hospital brass ordered to return $142,000 pocketed in scam

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A CT scanner installed illegally by a private person at Ho Chi Minh City's Binh Dan Hospital in collusion with the bosses, who got a cut of patients' fees. Photo by Thanh Tung

Five senior officials at Ho Chi Minh City's leading hospital have been ordered to pay into the government treasury more than VND3 billion (US$142,230) they made through fraudulent practices which were exposed by Thanh Nien.

They had permitted some private companies to install CT and other scanners at Binh Dan Hospital, which is also a major surgical center, and got a 20-40 percent cut of the fees patients paid for scanning.

The hospital has its own machines, but they were not used.

Nguyen Chi Hung, the hospital's director, who has been suspended, pocketed more than VND1.16 billion from the scam, city health inspectors said Monday.

Deputy directors Nguyen Van Vinh and Vu Le Chuyen, chief accountant Tran Thi Xuyen, and Dr Hoang Vinh Chuc, head of the planning department, were the others involved in the scam.

Doctors were paid to prescribe scans.

Thanh Nien reported earlier this year that Hung masterminded the installation of CT, X-ray, and ultrasound scanners, and kidney-stone crushing machines as long ago as 2006.

He tried to throw a spanner in the investigations by preventing the person in charge of managing medical equipment from meeting the inspectors, telling them he had mental problems.

Inspectors are also looking into the hospital's recruitment process since it has on its payroll at least six doctors and pharmacists without adequate qualifications.

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