Yerevan Hospital Accused Of Fraud
Artak Hambardzumian Հուլիս 19, 2018
Health Minister Arsen Torosian on Thursday accused a hospital in Yerevan run by a relative of former President Serzh Sarkisian of engaging in fraudulent practices that cost the state at least 300 million drams ($620,000).
Torosian said an audit of the Surb Grigor Lusavorich Medical Center conducted by his ministry found that its management embezzled government funds allocated for free examinations and treatment of civil servants.
“The bulk of the violations had to do with sums charged for patients who were actually not treated,” he told reporters. “Patients were not hospitalized, did not receive medical aid but the state was still charged [by the hospital.] As of now, 300 million drams worth of such cases have already been detected.”
Torosian said the Ministry of Health has already asked prosecutors to look into the allegations and decide whether they warrant a criminal investigation.
A statement released on behalf of the Surb Grigor Lusavorich Medical Center staff last week voiced support for the hospital’s longtime executive director, Ara Minasian. It accused the Ministry of Health of waging a “political campaign” against Minasian.
The hospital chief is the father of Mikael Minasian, Sarkisian’s son-in-law serving as Armenia’s ambassador to the Vatican. Minasian enjoyed considerable political and economic influence in Armenia until nationwide mass protests brought down Sarkisian in late April.
Torosian pledged last month to crack down on the “healthcare oligarchy that has misused millions” of dollars. He said on Thursday that he has ordered ministry officials to also inspect other Armenian hospitals. The minister suggested that they too committed financial irregularities.