Health ministry inspects clinics involved in scandal(Koreatimes)


#Private_clinic’s_usage_in_scandal ##cha_hospital_alleged_of_favor #SNUH_also_alleged #Korea’s_President_Park_Scandal #What_about_MoH_itself?


The Ministry of Health and Welfare on Friday began investigations into two clinics which have been allegedly linked to President Park Geun-hye’s scandal-ridden confidant Choi Soon-sil and also involved in suspicions about treatments for Park.

The ministry ordered the Gangnam Public Health Center to conduct inspections of the Gangnam-based Kim Young-jae Plastic Surgery Clinic and the anti-aging clinic Chaum, which are affiliated with the Cha Medical Group. Both clinics are known to have been frequented by Choi and members of her family since 2010.

The latest allegations are that Choi and her secretary were prescribed medications on behalf of the President. Park is also known to have visited the clinic as a lawmaker before becoming President. The medications have been reported as fatigue-relieving vitamin shots.

Prescribing medications to someone else on behalf of a patient is allowed only rarely.

The clinic denied the proxy prescription, saying the medications were for Choi, not Park. But a source at the hospital told local broadcaster JTBC that Choi wrote “Cheong Wa Dae” when she got the prescriptions.

There are suspicions that a doctor who was taking care of Choi at Chaum, surnamed Kim, was granted favors because he became one of the President’s medical advisors at the beginning of her term in 2013.

It is also alleged that the medical group benefited from the government: it was included in the economic delegations when the President visited China and Iran in 2015 and 2016. In addition, Cha Hospital was selected as a ministry hospital in charge of research, and received 19.2 billion won in funding.

The hospital denied the allegations about favors.

Kim, who left the hospital in 2014, reportedly said he did not know about Choi’s influence.

The Kim Young-jae Plastic Surgery Clinic was also frequented by Choi and her daughter Chung Yoo-ra.

The director surnamed Kim, who was a general practitioner and not a specialist, was appointed by Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH) as a doctor for outpatient care, raising suspicions that he was granted the favor based on his acquaintance with Choi.

SNUH President Suh Chang-suk said Kim was appointed because a wealthy patient from China wanted treatment from Kim, but said he was dismissed as the patient did not come.

Suh served as the President’s doctor from September 2014 to February this year. Kim was made an outpatient doctor two months after Suh was appointed.

SNUH also supplied the thread used in Kim’s facelift procedures at its cosmetics surgery division.

Kim followed President Park on her overseas trips, as an executive of a medical appliances company owned by his wife.

Kim’s brother-in-law had the chance to promote his cosmetics company’s products on the President’s visit to France. Products of this company were provided as Park’s gifts for the Seollal holiday this year.

However, Suh said he did not know Choi.

Meanwhile, there have been rumors that the President, whose whereabouts for seven hours right after the Sewol ferry disaster on April 16, 2014, remain unclear, was receiving a procedure at Kim’s clinic.

The clinic denied that Kim performed the surgery, claiming he was out playing golf at the time. Cheong Wa Dae also officially denied the suspicion.

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