Case of lack of subsidy for Chas patient raises questions

A Community Health Assist Scheme decal seen at a clinic.
A Community Health Assist Scheme decal seen at a clinic. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Government policies, which are based on very good intentions and in the public interest, are sometimes stymied by deep-seated bureaucracy, lack of heart and lack of communication and integration (Chas patient not subsidised for polyclinic X-rays, Feb 15).

The failure of the Community Health Assist Scheme-registered clinic to apprise its patient of the limits of subsidies on its referrals and Medisave restrictions on X-rays makes it partly responsible for her medical cost problem.

The clinic should have clearly laid down the financial implications and suggested other probable options for her.

The problem is really a failure of the many levels or parties involved in the process.

I am sure this cannot be the first case experienced by the Chas clinic or the Ministry of Health's (MOH) outpatient departments.

The staff of these departments should have been more alert to such problems of charging. What is the role of the financial counsellors of such clinics?

Such problems should have been caught much earlier and brought up for review and/or discussed with Chas clinics on what they should advise their patients in the event such referrals are necessary.

And what about the top officials in MOH? Have they no overriding powers to take action to sort out the issue?

What is the role of the Agency for Integrated Care?

And what about the Central Provident Fund Board? What is its role in making Medisave more accessible for the poor?

Lim Ang Yong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 19, 2019, with the headline 'Case of lack of subsidy for Chas patient raises questions'. Subscribe