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In Vietnam, dentists run clinics on paper only

In Vietnam, dentists run clinics on paper only

Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 17:59 GMT+7

Many dental clinics in Ho Chi Minh City are operating in the names of the dentists who only lease their qualifications out to the owners of the facilities for a monthly fee but do not actually engage in their medical activities, a Tuoi Tre investigation has shown.

There has long existed a situation in which many people who are not eligible to obtain an operation license for a dental clinic ‘borrow’ the names of qualified dentists to apply for the certificate or rent the paper from them. 

In return, the ‘borrowers’/renters will pay a ‘license rental’ on a monthly basis to use the certificate to run their clinic.

After a long-time investigation, Tuoi Tre reporters could meet To Hoang Phuong, a broker of such licenses in HCMC.

Phuong told Tuoi Tre that people who are not dentists face difficulty in applying for an operation license to open a dental clinic.

Under current regulations, those who want to run a dental clinic must firstly obtain a practitioner’s certificate and use it to apply for a certificate for business registration.

They then have to prepare an operation plan for the clinic, specify the personal information of all dentists who will work at the facility, and provide other information.

They are required to submit all the above documents to local departments of planning and investment (for businesses), or planning and economics offices in districts where the clinic is located (for individuals) to get an operation license.

Therefore, many people have asked Phuong to help them to obtain a license for their future clinics.

Renting a license at VND7 million (US$333) per month On April 2, Tuoi Tre reporters were present when Phuong told a man who was his customer, “You should cooperate with a dentist who is eligible to put his or her name in the operation license. Otherwise, you should lease a license from a dentist.”

Phuong then suggested that the man acquire An Binh dental clinic that has been licensed.

The clinic is located on Interprovincial Road 5 in District 8.

The dentist whose name is put in this clinic’s license is K.T.T, who is working at the National Hospital of Odonto-Stomatology, while the owner of the clinic is dentist M.X.N., who resides in District 6.

In December 2013, T. and N. agreed to a deal in which T. would use his name to obtain a license for N.’s clinic, and N. will pay T. an amount of VND7 million ($333) per month as a ‘license rental.’ 

As a result, N. got the license from the HCMC Health Department on December 20, 2013.

After running the clinic for a time, N. told Phuong to seek a person who could acquire Binh An for VND320 million ($15,200), so Phuong advised his new customer – the above mentioned man – to acquire the clinic.

If the man agreed to buy the clinic, he had to pay a brokering fee of VND10 million ($476) to Phuong, Phuong told the man.

The deal was struck and N. later reduced the price to VND290 million ($13,800) and Phuong’s customer agreed to it.

Phuong later asked another dentist, K.H.T., to help his customer by posing as the re-lessee of the license from K.T.T. In return, Phuong’s customer would pay that dentist VND3-4 million ($143-190).

On April 10, all the related parties met at a café on Ngo Quyen Street, District 5, and K.T.T agreed to lease his license to K.H.T at the same price, VND7 million per month.

Three days earlier, Phuong also recommended his customer to consider buying another dental clinic, Nu Cuoi Viet, which has yet to be licensed, for VND300 million ($14,280), in Nha Be District.

Van, the clinic’s owner, told she was leasing a license from a dentist for VND8 million ($380) per month. Van said she would transfer the license to Phuong’s customer for use.

Leasing licenses is illegal

Leasing dental clinic licenses is illegitimate, Bui Minh Trang, chief inspector of the HCMC Department of Health told Tuoi Tre.

Under applicable regulations, if a dental clinic has only one dentist whose name is in its license, then this dentist must directly examine and treat patients at the facility. If a dental clinic has more than one dentist, all the dentists must have practitioners’ certificates.

In this case, the dentist whose name is put in the license may not directly examine and treat patient at the clinic, but he or she must manage all of its professional activities, Trang said.

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