Parliament: MOH to review hospitals' different approaches for patients' Medisave claims

SINGAPORE - Some hospitals allow patients to claim against MediShield and Medisave for treatment they received in the emergency department before they are warded, while other hospitals do not.

This has led to appeals and queries from patients to the ministry on what can be claimed against the national insurance scheme as well as what they can use their savings in Medisave to cover.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said his ministry is reviewing the situation "to see how we can streamline the practices across all public hospitals to minimise confusion."

Mr Zainal Sapari (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) had asked if the MOH could allow patients in the transit wards to use their Medisave to pay for their stay there.

He also asked how long patients tended to be kept in such transit wards in hospital emergency departments before getting a bed in a subsidised ward.

Mr Gan said the median wait was 2.5 hours in 2013, with more severely ill patients getting priority.

He added: "While patients wait to be admitted to an inpatient bed, they will continue to receive medical treatment, nursing care, clinical monitoring and other services, as well as meals that they may require during this transit period."

Explaining the differences in the way hospitals bill patients, the minister said: "Some hospitals commence inpatient charges only when the patients are transferred to a ward and taken care of by the inpatient team.

"Other hospitals consider patients as inpatient once they are taken care of by the inpatient team, even during the transit period.

"The time during this period contributes towards the length of stay and patients will benefit from higher claims for Medisave and MediShield."