A Vancouver doctor who was ordered to repay the provincial government $2 million in 2017 for overbilling has now been disciplined in another matter by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C.
Dr. Viem Chung Nguyen, a Vancouver physical and rehabilitation specialist, admitted that he failed to respond to multiple communications and correspondence from the college. He has been reprimanded and fined $7,500 by the college. He was also ordered to pay an additional $8,731 in costs after a consent agreement was reached.
Nguyen has also promised not to ignore the college and must respond to all future communications within a month of such requests.
In a bulletin, the college said:
“The inquiry committee was critical of Dr. Nguyen’s failure to respond to College communications. Given the importance that must be placed on physicians being responsive to the regulator, the inquiry committee determined a disciplinary outcome was appropriate.”
The college licenses and regulates over 11,000 physicians across B.C. Its role is to protect the public through the enforcement of high standards in clinical qualifications and ethical practices.
Nguyen’s problems with the Medical Services Commission regarding overbilling dates back to 2017. He was barred from billing the Medical Services Plan for two years but is eligible to re-enroll anytime after May 31. He was able to bill patients and third-party insurers on a private basis since during the time he was temporarily de-enrolled from the public plan.
It is unclear whether Nguyen has paid back the $2 million he was ordered to repay after an audit found a large number of billing irregularities. The government will not disclose such information.
“Due to privacy restrictions under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the ministry is unable to release any third-party financial information or personal details,” said ministry spokeswoman Kristy Anderson.
“If an individual fails to pay an amount assessed by the audit, they are referred to the Ministry of Finance to pursue collection action as outlined in the Financial Administration Act or the governing statutes.”
Last year, a government report said an on-site audit found poor documentation of Nguyen’s patient records and “for several patients, there was no evidence that Dr. Nguyen ever provided any care to that patient.”
The college’s director of communications, Susan Prins, said she couldn’t divulge whether there is an ongoing investigation into Nguyen’s overbilling.
“This is protected information unless it results in discipline,” she said.