Monday, July 16, 2007

Healthcare Pricing Singapore Style.....

I think our system has gotten better at creative pricing of healthcare services. Even for a person who is concerned about healthcare and keeps a close watch on escalating healthcare costs and how subsidy is being reduced....... I'm really surprised by this one from today's Straits Times forum:
If you get 50 pills from the doctor and you're suppose to take 1 per day, it will cost 3 times more than if you're to take 2 per day. Yes, the same 50 pills cost 3 times more if you consume it slower. I know the govt is perpetually worried about people abusing govt aid by consuming more than they really need (e.g. 3 meals instead of 2 meals per day) that is why they give people on PA (public assistance) enough for only 2 meals a day......I don't know they are so cautious to extend these wonderful ideas to healthcare. I guess they are worried that the woman might consume more medicine than she really needs even though it is perscribed by a doctor.
A few months ago, I woke up with an extreme pain in my elbow. I went to the GP and he told me I needed to get it checked by a specialist as my joint might be infected. I took some pain killers to keep the pain away andI called up the govt hospital to ask for an appointment. They told me 2 weeks time unless I came in as a "private patient". I didn't know what "private patient" meant to my pocket -$500?, $1000? so I just took more blue painkiller pills and the '2 weeks later' appointment. It was strange that a clerk (not doctor) was at the other endtelling me what my medical options were.
Two weeks later I turned up at the hospital and was seen by a specialist:
Specialist: Lucky Tan right, sit down. What's wrong with you?
Me: I woke up 2 weeks ago and my elbow hurt like hell, the GP asked me to come here and check if it's infected.
Specialist:2 weeks ago? Does it hurt now?
Specialist:In that case, there is nothing I can do for you. Come back again if it hurts and I can run some test on fluids in you elbow joint.

$70 for a 1 minute conversation with a specialist....and that was subsidised!
The Singapore healthcare system is going to be great! As our Minister Khaw focusses on reducing subsidy at the same time Singapore turns into a medical hub for rich millionaires in the region and beyond, our healthcare industry will enter a Golden Period of high profits. You may think the priority of care depends severity of your sickness - ah that is so old fashion in modern Singapore Inc. You want treatment fast, just pay for it - be it dental care, elbow pain, etc. The poor can afford to wait and the rich can afford to pay.


Anonymous said...

I am glad that i left the uniquely first world country called Singapore 3 years ago. Now i live in the 3rd World country but i only paid less than $30 to see a specialist who has spent more than 1 hours of the professional time with me explaining all the medical options, implications and possible outcome for a small minor procedures. And this is a private doctor and there is no subsidy! I am really happy that i am in the 3rd world instead of the uniquely first world Singapore.

Anonymous said...

I am beginning to realise that living in a first world country is not all that good for poor people like me. For the rich it is of course gold everywhere - golden nillions, golden era, golden period, golden pillow, golden tap, golden retirement.

What is really left for the poor?

Anonymous said...

actually, this thing about charging based on duration of treatment has been around for donkey years... it is supposed to benefit the poor who would then pay according to duration and not the severity of condition.

given that sangobion is actually some sort of vitamin, the patient shld insist that the doctor prescribe two capsules per day. most doctors wldn't mind amending if you REALLY REALLY insist.

the thing i can't comprehend is, why the hell shld the non-singaporean be given subsidy???

young-pap said...

I really don't understand why you people complain so much. Look! Everyone has some experience with our hospital system, either personally, or else indirectly via their immediate or extended relatives. That's for sure, since everyone either get sick themselves, or if not, then their old/ dying relatives do. Seeing a specialist or getting hospitalised is very common. Practically, every family has some member who has experienced it. For example, is there any reader here who has no experience - either as a patient or a visitor of a patient - with our hospitals before?

And once you have experienced the hospitals, you would know about the long waits, the high costs and so on.

And after 40 years, 66.6% of our citizens are pleased with the waiting time and the cost. To me, that's good enough, because the majority have made an informed choice, as far as health care is concerned.

As for the other 33.3%, please lah, all of you better shut up lest we knock on your door, or shoot you.

Anonymous said...

frankly I think its good that we are moving towards the "stars" in all areas.

Soon the problems of the poor will be resolved as they will move off, and no one will remember their plight as the stale times will always report good news and everything is buzzing with money to be made in all areas.

so why wait as Singaporeans have loads to money to unload in all areas.

Best bet is to bring in more rich people so that we can help make them richer, and statistics can show that Singapore is doing well by reflecting the number of zillionaires.

Lets all hope our loyalty to the nation still stays intact, We also must note that we might want to buy the top DOLLAR football players so that we can form a football team that will qualify in the WORLD CUP

Also got to pay these footballers top dollar to prevent corruption.

Thought for the day:

Can pigs fly ?
Yes ? Then GST will help the poor
and can we trust our gut feel to say, the future looks bleak for Singaporeans ?

Anonymous said...

66 percent thinks that the PAP is wonderful all these uniquely Singapore ways are definitely acceptable. Singaporeans have the most unique way of looking at things. Now you understand why Singapore Inc can never be successfully globally; its supposedly 'success' benefits everyone except Singaporeans. And that is uniquely alright in Singapore.

Anonymous said...

Then Minister of Health should resign immediately.

sponge off the PAP said...

To pay $23 for specialist consultation, you have to visit a polyclinic to see doc and tell him that u want to see specialist and ask for a referral letter.

Anonymous said...

More is coming...

The MSM says 13% of student did not pay back monies from their parents CPF but our MSM but what the big Hen meant is that CPF will no longer be allowed to used for your childrens education. Because only 40% of those reaching 55 have the minimum sum.Why? or Why?. Why does it not occur to people to question why after 35 year of working we cannot retire. What happen to our saving? Basically wiped out by the subsidised housing policy. Why were we paid 2% when the collective money earned much more for the government to boast about and pay themselves huge salaries. We will die poor in this country after working all our lives.

Anonymous said...

You wont die poor, you die as if you have never lived. Because once you are born, you are TRAINED to follow and not question.

Dont think, just do what the rest of the people are doing.

Ignorance is bliss. Knowing the truth can be mentally disturbing.

So lets get the bottomline straight

1) GST to help the poor
2) Extend CPF release rate, because we dont know how to manage our money

3) Increase minister pay to prevent corruption

4)People are homeless by choice

5) Increase foreign pool, to improve birth rates

6) People should not think of retirement

and the list goes on and on....

Bottomline is in a INC, its all about numbers.

poor will resolve itself and a new chapter will unfold.

thought for the day:
Do not do onto others, what you would not want others to do onto you.


Anonymous said...

Years ago, my mother went to polyclinic regarding her heart problem. She was refer to the specialist doctor at TTSH but was put on a 3-month waiting list.

Unfortunately, the pain was too much for her to bear to wait 3 months for treatment. Hence, she went to see a private specialist and was admitted immediately for treatment.

If she will to wait 3 months for the appointment, I believe she will be dead by then.

The government hospital policy was that once a patient had seen a private doctor, the government hospital doctor will not treat her anymore.

My mother have no alternative but continue to see private doctor even though it is expensive for us.

Anonymous said...

I heard from the grapevine that because the demand for hospitalisation in so-called subsidized C class is so high, the doctors are advised to give pain-killers wherever possible instead of hospitalization to cut down the queue.

Anonymous said...

One actual experience:

Waited 3 long hours to see the doctor in a govt privatised hospital. Spent only a few minutes in consultation. No medicine prescribed.

Cost $25

Great service with a an equally great price.