Proportion of Patients Receiving Services from More than One Medifund-approved Institution

Parliamentary Question, 8 July 2019

https://www.unscrambled.sg/2018/12/11/in-singapore-even-if-you-dont-have-money-you-can-still-afford-medical-care/

Ms Anthea Ong asked Mr Gan Kim Yong, the Minister for Health in each of the last three years (a) what proportion of patients receive services from more than one Medifund-approved institution (MFI); (b) what is the average number of different MFIs that patients receive services from; © what is the proportion of patients who applied for MediFund at more than one MFI; (d) for such patients, what is the average number of MFIs where MediFund applications are made; and (e) what are the costs incurred by MFIs to assess MediFund applications.

Mr Gan Kim Yong: There are currently 149 Medifund-approved institutions (MFI), spanning all healthcare settings including public acute and community hospitals, specialist outpatient clinics, polyclinics, and Government-subsidised nursing homes.

Over each of the last three years, close to half of subsidised patients received services at more than one MFI, most of whom visited two MFIs each year.

1% of subsidised patients received MediFund assistance at more than one MFI, most of whom received assistance at two MFIs each year.

Each MFI has an independent MediFund Committee, made up of representatives such as community leaders and professionals, to assess MediFund applications. They are typically supported by Medical Social Worker (MSWs) and other staff who help assess a patient’s circumstances. Apart from assessing MediFund applications, MSWs also serve a wider group of patients and caregivers, such as extending social and emotional support and making referrals to other social services or assistance schemes. For this reason, MFIs are unable to determine specifically the cost of processing MediFund applications alone.

We periodically review MediFund processes to improve and streamline them where possible. For instance, needy patients on Public Assistance today do not need to undergo further MediFund assessment at MFIs. We are also in the midst of rolling out system enhancements, led by our MSWs, that will streamline the application process and improve information sharing. This will make it more convenient for MediFund patients who visit more than one institution.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Anthea Ong is a Nominated Member of Parliament. (A Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) is a Member of the Parliament of Singapore who is appointed by the President. They are not affiliated to any political party and do not represent any constituency. There are currently nine NMPs in Parliament.)

The multi-sector perspective that comes from her ground immersion of 12 years in different capacities helps her translate single-sector issues and ideas across boundaries without alienating any particular community/group. As an entrepreneur and with many years in business leadership, it is innate in her to discuss social issues with the intent of finding solutions, or at least of exploring possibilities. She champions mental health, diversity and inclusion — and volunteerism in Parliament.

She is also an impact entrepreneur/investor and a passionate mental health advocate, especially in workplace wellbeing. She started WorkWell Leaders Workgroup in May 2018 to bring together top leaders (CXOs, Heads of HR/CSR/D&I) of top employers in Singapore (both public and private) to share, discuss and co-create inclusive practices to promote workplace wellbeing. Anthea is also the founder of Hush TeaBar, Singapore’s 1st silent teabar and a social movement that aims to bring silence, self care and social inclusion into every workplace, every community — with a cup of tea. The Hush Experience is completely led by lovingly-trained Deaf facilitators, supported by a team of Persons with Mental Health Issues (PMHIs).

A full-time human, and part-time everything else.

A full-time human, and part-time everything else.