Health Care and Medical Fraud – A High Price to Pay for Living in the UAE

While people try to steer clear of bank fraud, credit card fraud and other different kinds of fraudulent activities around the world, the residents of the UAE have to add one more item to their long list of things to remain cognisant of; medical and healthcare fraud. Unlike the strict HIPAA regulations and penalties for wrongdoing in the United States and the use of prescription monitoring programs, there are no strong protections of this type in the United Arab Emirates. and unfortunately, when it comes to health care plans and medical matters, the exploiters can obtain many opportunities to take advantage of the unsuspecting victims. In most cases, it is a joint effort of the consultants and pharmacies, as they work with mutual agreement and benefits to exploit the patients for their own monetary benefit.

One of the methods is where the pharmacies let the policyholders get their hands on non-medicinal products in trade for the prescriptions. For this clever deed, the pharmacies get hefty commissions which they gladly share with the consultants who had prescribed the medicines in the first place. And this is just one of the many ways in which these people whom they trust wholeheartedly with our health, use them to their advantage. Though medical fraud is prevalent in all parts of the world, the UAE suffers from it a proportionally greater rate.

Here are the many ways in which these medical experts exploit their clients:

Naive Patients:

Insurance covers the majority of the basic medical needs, yet many people fail to read the terms from top to bottom or do not bother to investigate more into the matter. However, this negligence from the citizens does allow the medical practitioners to do as they see fit. Doctors act as if they are helping the patients as they bill them for the services that are already being covered by the insurance.

Psychological Testing:

One incident in the Gulf Coast States brought under the spotlight a deceitful activity in which two psychologists took part in an extensive fraud scheme that involved fake psychological testings in a nursing home and benefiting from almost $25 million.

Medical Cards:

Pharmacies offer payment to the patients who visit them and allow them to copy their medical cards in exchange for money. These medical cards are then used by pharmacists to create false invoices and sell medicines that have not been prescribed.

Unnecessary Medical Treatments:

Another dangerous aspect of medical fraud is providing services, conducting surgeries and medical tests that are neither needed nor required by the patients. The over-prescribing and over-servicing benefits result in earning cash at the expense of their patient’s health. Even unnecessary surgeries are carried out to get the patients to pay.

This extensive fraud is the result of a teamwork of pharmacies, policyholders and medical practitioners who join forces to trick the unknowing patients into paying more.  Even pharmaceutical companies are involved as they strike a deal with the doctors to prescribe their medications to the patients. Patients are over-diagnosed, over-treated, over-prescribed and even detained in the hospital for a longer period of time, all for the sake of earning money while shortening the life of their patients and exposing them to risky health hazards.