Middlemen trick patients at major Ho Chi Minh City hospital

The intermediaries would lead patients to a private clinic claimed to be a branch of the hospital

Patients wait for their turn at the clinic on 3 Mac Thien Tich Street in District 5, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A large number of unlicensed intermediaries have been highly active at a major hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, duping patients into using fast services at bogus clinics where medical bills are much higher.

It is quite common for people to be approached at all entrances of the University Medical Center in District 5 by strangers offering quick health checks at nearby private clinics which they falsely claim are operated by the hospital.

At these facilities, medical bills are often higher than those offered at the hospital itself.

Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters arrived at the main gate of the infirmary on Hong Bang Street the other day and were immediately greeted by a group of middlemen.

One of them introduced a clinic, which they claimed was a branch of the University Medical Center, where a fast health check would cost about VND100,000 (US$4.4).

Upon agreeing, the undercover correspondents were led to a facility at 3 Mac Thien Tich Street in the immediate vicinity.

After filling in some personal information, the correspondents entered a room to see a doctor, who only asked a few token questions.

People use services at the clinic as they think it belongs to the University Medical Center. Photo: Tuoi Tre
People use services at the clinic as they think it belongs to the University Medical Center. Photo: Tuoi Tre

After about two minutes, they were transferred to another clinic on Nguyen Chi Thanh Street in nearby District 10 for testing.

An employee of the facility did not forget to stress that their doctors are from the University Medical Center.

While waiting for the test results, the reporters noticed many patients arriving at the clinic following the advice of the intermediaries.

These patients shared that they chose the clinic as they did not want to wait in long lines at the hospital.

The medical bill showed that the Tuoi Tre reporters had to pay VND530,000 ($23), including VND250,000 ($11) for endoscopy, VND80,000 ($3.5) for a doctor's consultation, and VND200,000 ($9) for a service charge.

Prescribed medicine for one week cost the reporters another VND330,000 ($13).

Meanwhile, an official from the University Medical Center said that such services would normally cost VND150,000 ($7).

Patients wait for their turn to receive medicine at the clinic. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Patients wait for their turn to receive medicine at the clinic. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The bogus clinic also sold the medicine five times higher than the actual price.

According to Dr. Pham Van Tan, deputy director of the hospital, these middlemen only recently began operating at the hospital.

He asserted that the mentioned clinics do not belong to the infirmary.

“We have received many reports from victims and will coordinate with police and the People’s Committee in District 5 to deal with the problem,” Dr. Tan stated.

In the meantime, managers of the hospital will try their best to inform patients of the issue.

Dr. Tan stressed that the University Medical Center only cooperates with two facilities – one at 99 Thuan Kieu Street in District 11 and another 525 Su Van Hanh Street District 10.

“We have our own cars to transport patients between these facilities,” he added.

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