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Greece to Halt Payment of 40,000 False Health Benefit Claims

March 30 (Bloomberg) -- Greece could save as much as 110 million euros ($147 million) a year by halting payment of false medical benefits, Deputy Health Minister Marcos Bolaris said.

The amount Greece loses each year in benefits paid to about 40,000 citizens who aren’t entitled to them could pay for the construction of a 400-bed hospital, Bolaris told lawmakers in Athens late yesterday.

Greece, in its fifth year of recession, is pushing to stamp out corruption in areas including the health-care system as it cuts spending to meet targets as part of a second bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

The health ministry plans to fine recipients of unwarranted payments and to discipline doctors and staff, Bolaris said. An auditing service will be set up to handle the cases and the state will seek to get back the money with interest, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Antonis Galanopoulos in Athens at agalanopoulo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Maria Petrakis at mpetrakis@bloomberg.net; Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net

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