When diabetic patient Lily Neo, who also has high blood pressure and high cholesterol, managed to improve her health, she received a rebate of $20 towards a healthcare plan.
Madam Neo, 53, is enrolled in a scheme for chronic disease patients at Yishun Polyclinic that gives them rebates of between $5 and $20 to offset the following year's bill when they meet targets set by their healthcare team.
The scheme lets these patients pay up front for a year's worth of healthcare services - such as consultations, screenings and medication. It also helps cut down the time needed to make payment after a visit to the polyclinic, the National Healthcare Group Polyclinics (NHGP) said yesterday at Yishun Polyclinic's official launch.
The targets which patients must meet include achieving target blood sugar, blood pressure or cholesterol levels, or going for diabetic foot and retinal photography screenings.
The Chronic Care Plan aims to incentivise patients to go for regular screenings and check-ups so that their conditions are better managed, said Dr Kwan Pek Yee, who heads Yishun Polyclinic.
"We find that some patients, especially diabetic patients, don't want to go for check-ups," she said. "So once they buy the plan, it's easier for them to comply because they've already paid for it."
GOING FOR REGULAR CHECK-UPS
We find that some patients, especially diabetic patients, don't want to go for check-ups... So once they buy the plan, it's easier for them to comply because they've already paid for it.
DR KWAN PEK YEE, who heads Yishun Polyclinic, on the Chronic Care Plan.
To qualify for the scheme, patients must have at least one of the 20 chronic conditions covered by the Chronic Disease Management Programme.
The conditions include diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke and dementia.
The annual sum patients need to pay is calculated from their previous year's total bill. They can use Medisave to pay for up to 85 per cent of their bill. Any remaining balance due to unused services will be refunded to them.
NHGP said the Chronic Care Plan costs between $100 and $500, and rebates are capped at $20 for the year. Nearly 600 patients from Yishun Polyclinic have signed up since the scheme was first piloted there in April last year.
To date, 90 per cent of 300 Yishun Polyclinic patients who have completed a year's worth of healthcare services have earned the rebates, said Dr Kwan.
With these encouraging results, the scheme was launched at Ang Mo Kio Polyclinic in September and NHGP plans to roll it out to its four other polyclinics in Hougang, Toa Payoh, Geylang and Woodlands over the next few years.
With the rebate, Madam Neo, a freelance property agent, used the $20 to offset her current $300 plan. Besides saving money, she also saves time because she said she does not need to wait to make payment after the visits.
"It's not because of the $20; I'm taking care of my health for my own benefit," she said.
Yishun Polyclinic's new and bigger campus in Yishun Avenue 9 has been open to the public since July.
Its 8,700 sq m grounds sees about 1,800 patients daily - 200 more patients than when it was temporarily situated beside Yishun Pond Park from December 2012 to June this year.
With more space, its Women and Children's Clinic can now accommodate close to 200 patients daily - about one-third more patients than before - and the polyclinic now provides physiotherapy services.
Minister for Law and Home Affairs K. Shanmugam, who is also an MP for Nee Soon GRC, was the guest of honour at the official opening.