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Specialist outpatient clinic, pioneer subsidies don’t apply to private services: Dr Khor

SINGAPORE — The additional specialist outpatient clinic (SOC) and pioneer subsidies are not applicable to private services, reminded Senior Minister of State (Health & Manpower) Dr Amy Khor, in her visit to Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) General Practitioners (GPs) and dental clinics around Bedok South today (Aug 29).

Dr Amy Khor. TODAY File Photo

Dr Amy Khor. TODAY File Photo

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SINGAPORE — The additional specialist outpatient clinic (SOC) and pioneer subsidies are not applicable to private services, reminded Senior Minister of State (Health & Manpower) Dr Amy Khor, in her visit to Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) General Practitioners (GPs) and dental clinics around Bedok South today (Aug 29).

“If the patient wants to get subsidised service at the Specialist Outpatient Clinics in our public hospitals, then they first need to go and consult a primary care doctor at the polyclinic or a CHAS GP if they are a CHAS card holder or a Pioneer Generation card holder. If the doctor assesses that they need specialist care, they can then be referred to SOCs for subsidised care.”

Kicking in next Monday would be two new changes to the scheme, when lower to middle income Singaporeans, who are existing subsidised patients, will now get 60 to 70 per cent subsidies when referred to SOCs in public hospitals from polyclinics or CHAS GPs. The Pioneer Generation will also receive a special CHAS benefit — an additional 50 per cent — on top of these subsidies. All of these additional assistance only applies to subsidised bills.

Highlighting some pioneers’ queries on whether they would need to apply for the CHAS card, Dr Khor clarified that they will have to apply for blue or orange CHAS card if they want to enjoy higher subsidies.

Speaking to the media, Dr Lim Yong Chin from Access Medical Bedok South — a CHAS GP — said that he is not anticipating a huge crowd from September onwards as patients do not come to clinics to seek treatment due to subsidies but because they are really ill.

However, Ms Koh Siew Choo, a dental assistant from Advanced Dental Clinic, also a CHAS clinic, said that they do anticipate more walk-ins on top of the existing 40 to 50 bookings for September, and that the clinic have been looking into hiring two to three more staff to cope with the larger crowd.

Starting January next year, lower and middle income patients would also be given additional subsidies on subsidised drugs at SOCs and polyclinics.

 

CORRECTION: The Ministry of Health has clarified that patients need to be assessed by a primary care doctor to need specialist care, and not specialised care, before they can be referred to Specialist Outpatient Clinics for subsidised care.

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