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Fund abuse rife in healthcare: report

By Wen Ya (Global Times)

08:50, January 05, 2012

A report released by the National Audit Office yesterday showed that in 2010 abuse of funds was a serious problem plaguing the rural cooperative medical care plan.

Five county-level authorities returned about 27.38 million yuan ($4.35 million) in funds they had embezzled. Another six county-level management institutions involved in the plan obtained 373,000 yuan in allowances by falsifying numbers of applicants for the plan. A total of 81 people were arrested, charged or sentenced nationwide, the report said.

Fund abuse in the rural cooperative medical care project is only part of the picture of fund abuse across the country. In a nationwide audit, the relevant departments, units and districts have submitted, recovered, returned and refunded a total of 14.39 billion yuan in funds by the end of October, avoiding a loss of more than 6 billion yuan.

Though the sum of money involved in the rural medicare project makes up a relatively small proportion of the nationwide fund abuse, experts say that the damage done could be huge. "Abusing the plan's funds directly affects the lives of farmers since there are many who can't afford medical treatment," Wang Sangui, a professor with the School of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times.

A total of 14 county-level authorities paid an extra 4.88 million yuan for the plan because of lax supervision and only 17 percent of it has been recovered. Four township-level hospitals obtained 567,800 yuan by using fake medical records, but all the money has been given back. Meanwhile, 13 people have been punished for the medical care fund abuse, according to the report.

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