Tuesday, August 13, 2013

GPC submits suggestions for more affordable healthcare - Channel News Asia

SINGAPORE: The Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Health has submitted four recommendations to the government to make healthcare more affordable.

One is the right siting of care within the continuum of care.

The GPC said feedback from social workers indicate that they see regular cases of clients who choose to voluntarily admit themselves or extend their stays in hospitals so that they can use their Medisave for treatment.

It said Medisave curbs that over-encourage the use of acute healthcare system should be reduced and minimised.

It also wants the current ElderShield payout to be revised.

The GPC said the current payout is not enough for Singaporeans to even cover nursing home fees.

The second recommendation is managing the rise of rising healthcare costs.

The GPC said the standard drug list should be expanded and regularly reviewed.

This will benefit the public as the cost of medication will be lowered and out-of-pocket cost minimised.

Enhancing the 3M framework is another recommendation.

The GPC said the scope of Medisave usage should be enhanced.

Medisave should be allowed to be used for health screening, essential dental procedures, physiotherapy and occupational therapy up to a certain cap to prevent excessive utilisation.

Medisave withdrawal limits should be regularly reviewed to ensure that the out-of-pocket expenditure for Singaporeans remains manageable.

It wants to make sure that Medisave is not depleted prematurely as people use it to support family members.

The GPC also wants the government to strengthen and expand the MediShield coverage to community and social care costs and remove the age ceiling on MediShield.

Finally the GPC said existing medical assistance schemes and frameworks should be reviewed and rationalised.

It wants the age criterion of Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) removed, the Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP) expanded and the Medisave limits on usage under CDMP raised.

The GPC also wants existing financial support schemes and their application processes reviewed and simplified to ensure accessibility to those who need them.

GPC Chair Lam Pin Min has submitted the recommendations to the Ministry of Health for its consideration.

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