The Straits Times
Published on Nov 21, 2012

Cut the red tape in help scheme for seniors


AN INDEPENDENT doctor is needed to assess the disabilities of a person applying for the Interim Disability Assistance Programme for the Elderly to prevent abuse of the scheme.

However, if a senior citizen is admitted to a government restructured hospital, as in the case of Mr Lee Chin Kiang's mother ("Bogged down by health aid scheme's red tape"; last Thursday), then I fail to understand why NTUC Income, which administers the programme, insists that she be assessed by a doctor from the appointed assessor's list before approval is granted.

The independent assessor relied on information furnished by the patient's son in arriving at his decision. Would it not be more cost-effective if the insurer had relied on the hospital doctor's assessment?

Mr Lee would be required to pay a nominal fee of $10 for the assessment if it had been done at the appointed assessor's clinic. But because the doctor travelled to the hospital, Mr Lee had to pay $40. These rates are heavily subsidised by the Government.

Rajasegaran Ramasamy