SINGAPORE: The Health Ministry (MOH) published the total operation fees for 65 common procedures at public hospitals on its website on Monday (Sep 1). The move aims to provide more transparency and help patients make informed decisions.
The data published accounts for more than two-thirds of all procedure-related admissions, and MOH said the list will be progressively expanded to cover other common procedures. The new data is in addition to the total hospital bill size information for the top medical conditions on MOH's website.
The data published is based on actual hospital bills and related fee breakdowns submitted by the hospitals from January to June this year. It will include the 25th percentile and the 75th percentile total operation fees for each common procedure, to provide an indication of the range of fees for the particular procedure, said MOH.
"Unlike the private sector, many public sector hospitals do not have a separate line item within the total hospital bill for doctors’ fees, for example ‘Surgeon Fees’, ‘Anaesthetist Fees’, etc," the ministry stated. "This publication will therefore feature the Total Operation Fees, which comprises ‘Surgeon Fees’, ‘Anaesthetist Fees’ and procedure-related ‘Facility Fees’."
The move to publish more information on operation fees in public hospitals may prompt private hospitals to do the same. Dr Chia Shi-Lu, chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Health, said: "MOH and the Government sector have taken the first step to put this information out, with the hope that by doing so, it will encourage the private sector to follow. Because when patients see this is being done in the public sector, then it will be natural for them to expect a similar degree of transparency from the private sector. So this is just a gentle nudge to the private sector."
Channel NewsAsia understands that private sector hospitals are already looking into this. However, the task is much harder in this sector, due to the greater diversity in medical costs.
SMA LOOKING INTO GUIDELINES OF FEES
Meanwhile, the Singapore Medical Association (SMA) is looking into having Guidelines of Fees. In 2007, SMA removed the guidelines on legal advice that they could contravene the Competition Act. But the association believes it is a good idea to have it again.
Dr Chong Yeh Woei, a council member and past president of the Singapore Medical Association, said: "We have not done the fee guideline since 2006, so it will be quite a lot of work contacting the private specialists and speaking with all the different specialist bodies. For example, the different specialist bodies like the eye surgeons, or the orthopaedic surgeons, or the renal physicians - we will have to collate all these fees. It will take us quite some time, and quite a lot of work before we can gather all these fees, and make some sense of it, adjust it and then re-publish it again."
However, the association said it still needs the approval of the authorities before it can publish the Guidelines of Fees. - CNA/kk/xy
MORE SINGAPORE NEWS
Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn