DOH slammed by reform group for appointing corrupt official

The China Post news staff

The China Post news staff–A health care reform group has described as “ridiculous” the Department of Health’s (DOH) poor judgment in appointing a ranking official suspected of taking bribes in the execution of government procurement programs.

In a DOH-sponsored conference called yesterday to discuss a proposed overhaul of the official medical establishment, Huang Ching-hsiang (黃經祥), deputy director of the Taiwan Health Reform Foundation’s (台灣醫療改革基金會,THRF) R&D Section, reminded DOH officials that their department had allowed Huang Kun-chang (黃焜 FD), head of the DOH’s Hospital Administration Commission (HAC) charged with taking bribes, a seat on the committee to distribute NT$500 billion in health insurance budget disbursements to hospitals and clinics.

This is tantamount to “making him a player-cum-umpire,” Huang Ching-hsiang said, questioning DOH’s March 1 nomination of Huang.Kun-chang as an official representative on the board of the Health Insurance Premium Association (HIPA, 健保費協會). Huang Ching-hsiang quoted former DOH minister Yang Chih-liang(楊志良)as saying that he himself had order the DOH’s Civil Service Ethics Office to participate in the investigation and hand over relevant documents to prosecutors during his term of office.

“Then how could DOH still nominated Huang Kun-chang on March 1,” after Yang’s departure? Huang Ching-hsiang asked.

Huang Kun-chang was nominated on the strength of his status as a DOH technical supervisor, and then he was given a role as “the boss” of hospitals run by the DOH, Huang Ching-hsiang said, adding that this showed DOH’s nomination policy, glaringly in violation of the “conflict on interest” principle, was “ridiculous.”

Huang Ching-hsiang called on DOH to immediately replace its serving representatives to HIPA and lose no time in deciding a selection system for the HIPA board, in order to prevent this “ridiculous” thing from happening again.

DOH minister Chiu Wen-ta promised at the conference to include medical experts and other professionals from outside the DOH hospitals in future appointments to HAC, expressing his hope that HAC’s problems could be resolved by an injection of new blood. Despite the express concern of people outside the medical establishment, DOH did not put the issue of hospital administrator appointment on the conference agenda, but insisted the future operation of hospitals run by DOH will be based on a “self-subsistence” principle.