Walking out of a private clinic next to the HCMC Dermatology Hospital, V.N.T., 23, was still shocked because, within less than 30 minutes, she had spent more than VND2 million. She said that she came from Kien Giang Province and went to HCMC for a dermatology examination. However, as soon as she arrived at the hospital gate, a man enthusiastically told her to go to the clinic in the alley next to the hospital to get a medical examination quickly without waiting.
She said that when she came to that clinic, the nurses wrote down her personal information, conducted an examination and dermoscopy, and then gave a conclusion and prescription. The examination process took less than 15 minutes, and it cost her more than VND400,000 for examination fees and more than VND2 million for oral and topical medicines.
Especially, understanding the psychology of patients from other provinces, who do not know much information, hospital brokers entice patients with many tricks to send patients to private clinics to receive commissions.
Although hospitals warn patients about this issue via loudspeakers all day, hospital brokers at some places remain rampant. Therefore, many patients have fallen into their traps.
Pretending to be a person needing an eye examination at Hoa Hao Medic Medical Center in Hoa Hao Street in District 10, as soon as we arrived at the gate of the hospital, we were stopped by a group of motorbike taxi drivers. They constantly asked: “Want to get a medical examination quickly? We will take you there. You must wait a long time to get a medical examination if you go to the hospital.”
When asked about the service fee, the man replied that the entrance fee was VND200,000, including procedures, and there was no need to get ordinal numbers. Patients will see a doctor immediately for medical examination and pay money afterward. We agreed, and this man immediately called a middle-aged woman from the clinic to lead us in for the procedure.
As advertised, we just needed to provide personal information, and the rest was done by that middle-aged woman. When we finished the examination procedure and paid the hospital fee, the woman led us to the ophthalmology department and then quickly left.
After we finished the medical examination, the woman ran after us and asked us to give the service fee to the man in front of the gate. “Tell him to take VND100,000 only because you got a simple medical examination. Just say that you are students and do not have much money,” she advised. After negotiating for a while, the motorbike taxi driver agreed to take a fee of VND100,000 for the fast medical examination.
Similarly, when we were at Cho Ray Hospital in District 5, we saw the same situation. Seeing us struggling, the group of motorbike taxi drivers in front of the gate approached, asked questions, and said: “If you get ordinal numbers now, even if you wait until the evening, it will still not be your turn. Just give us your information, and we will get the number for you so that you can see the doctor early tomorrow without wasting time waiting.”
“The fee is VND200,000 per time, paid after the examination. I have worked here for a few years, so rest assured, you will not be scammed,” said a man named Thuy. Then, he gave us a piece of paper and asked us to fill in the patient’s information and what kind of medical examination we wanted to take. He gave us his business card and asked us to come early tomorrow morning to get the medical examination number.
The next day, we contacted the phone number on the business card. The man gave us the medical examination number and told us to come in and wait for a short time, then it would be our turn. When the examination was complete, we could pay him the fee for his service.
Not only the problem of brokers, but the parking service in some hospitals is also worth mentioning. The motorbike parking price of some hospitals is VND10,000 per vehicle, two times higher than other places; some parking places are on the sidewalk without barriers, very messy.