Bosses of a chain of doctors' surgeries asked members to make false insurance claims, the Hong Kong Medical Association (HKMA) says. An internal association letter said doctors from the medical group, which accepted patients paid for by an insurance company, were asked to claim a sum 'which is greater than what they expect to be reimbursed'. Doctors were asked to 'leave the fee column blank' on the claim voucher, so the medical group could obtain the claimed amount 'without the patients' knowledge'. The letter said doctors who were involved in such a 'financial arrangement' might have breached the profession's code of practice or criminal law. Association vice-president Dr Lo Wing-lok confirmed yesterday that the association had received complaints from a doctor against the unnamed group. 'It is a rather common problem facing doctors who join those medical groups. All doctors should be alerted.' Dr Lo said it was a 'grey area' because medical groups and doctors always had a different interpretation of the voucher. For example, a medical group would charge an insurance company $200 for each consultation and contract it out to doctors who would pocket only $150. The group kept the $50. 'The problem is the medical group wants to put down the amount it will collect [from insurance companies] but doctors only want to show the exact amount they charge patients,' he said. Dr Lo said the group could specify a management fee on the voucher. 'The principle is the amount on the voucher must reflect the truth. 'The HKMA is firm on the stance that doctors should, in all circumstances, only write down on any receipt or claim voucher the exact amount that he is claiming for his services, no more or no less.' Proposed amendments suggested in the Medical Council's latest review of the code of conduct would add more detailed rules on doctors' relationships with medical organisations. Council secretary Chow Yan-yan said the council had been alerted by the association about improper financial arrangements. However, the case did not involve a concrete complaint against an individual doctor.