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Docs Linked to Bogus Insurance Claims
« on: May 01, 2008, 07:29:40 PM »

MANILA — The Philippine Health Department said Friday it would investigate allegations that Filipino doctors conspired to defraud the U.S. military’s health insurance program of 100 million dollars. The probe will be carried out by the National Bureau of Investigation’s Interpol division here, following a U.S. Federal prosecutors’ investigation into local company, Health Visions Corp. (HVC). “We will be basing our investigation and the subsequent cases that may be filed (against the accused doctors) on the reports that may be sent to us by NBI and see who are these Filipino doctors involved in this fraud,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque said.

HVC allegedly cheated the U.S. military’s insurance program by inflating claims, operating a phony insurance program and billing for services never delivered, local press reports said Friday. One Filipino doctor has already been arrested in Guam over the case.  Duque said this new incident has tarnished the reputation of medical professionals in the Philippines. He said the government was looking at the possibility of revoking the licenses of the doctors involved in the scam and canceling their accreditation with the government health insurance system.A Philippine Daily Inquirer investigation shows Health Visions Corp. is duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

It was incorporated in 1997 by Filipinos Lorna E. Magno and Jose Oro B. Fajardo and Americans Dennis Ray Thieke, Patrick Haskell and Thomas Lutz.Listed as its primary purpose is “to engage in and operate the business of facilitating and assisting in providing health care, medical needs and other allied medical services to individuals, such as providing for doctors, nurses, medical practitioners and professionals, [and] the buying and selling of pharmaceutical products, health foods and other goods and items incidental thereto,” among others.

According to their latest financial statement, the company holds office on Zambales Highway in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. As of end-2005, it earned a gross income of P25.4 million and posted a net profit of P115,958.26, after taxes. It also reported total assets amounting to P916,879 for the same period.In its latest available General Information Sheet filed with the SEC, Health Visions Corp.’s set of officers includes Dennis Ray A. Thieke Jr., president and chair of the Board of Directors; Aaron B. Baesa, vice president; Lorna E. Magno, treasurer; Corazon Coronel-Luttrell, corporate secretary; and Ansbert B. Joaquin, member.

Reports said at least 17 people have been convicted in the alleged swindling incident following a court hearing in Madison, Wisconsin. Tricare, a Pentagon health insurance program for active and retired military personnel, is said to have uncovered bogus insurances claims, coming from overseas. Some of the fraudulent claims were traced to HVC, which runs hospitals and clinics in the Philippines. — AFP, Inq7.net



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