Fees and charges at public hospitals to be revised next month
The charge for the use of Accident and Emergency (A&E) services at public hospitals will be revised from $100 to $180, while the charge for attendance at General Outpatient Clinics (GOPC) will be increased moderately from $45 to $50 to encourage diversion of less urgent A&E patients.
The charge for first attendance at Specialist Outpatient Clinics will be increased from $100 to $135, and subsequent attendance charges from $60 to $80. The daily maintenance fee for acute beds will be increased from $100 to $120. The charge for Community Nursing Services will be kept at $80 to provide an incentive for patients to discharge themselves early from rehabilitation hospitals. The revised major fees and charges for EPs are set out in Annex A.
A spokesman for the Food and Health Bureau today (May 22) said, "The fees and charges for public healthcare services for EP have not been revised since 2003. When determining the new level of fees and charges, the Government has taken into account the proposals of the Hospital Authority (HA), which are primarily based on the 2015/16 cost level, and has made suitable adjustments to the magnitude of the fee revisions to address public concerns and to encourage appropriate use of services.
"Apart from the A&E charge, the increase in other fees and charges is relatively moderate, ranging from 9 per cent to 50 per cent. Setting the A&E charge at $180, instead of $220 as proposed by the HA, should be able to strike a balance between encouraging the appropriate use of public healthcare services and addressing the concerns on increasing the financial burden of the general public in using A&E services."
The Government is committed to continuing to provide needy patients, such as the low-income groups, chronically ill patients and elderly patients, with sufficient protection by extending the medical fee waiver and enhancing primary healthcare services.
"We will extend the medical fee waiver for public healthcare services to cover Old Age Living Allowance recipients aged 75 or above with assets not exceeding $144,000 (elderly singletons) or $218,000 (elderly couples). The HA will also proactively consider enhancing the user-friendliness and convenience of the waiver mechanism for elderly and A&E frequent users for continuous service improvements.
"We will also continue to enhance the provision of primary healthcare services. In 2017/18 and 2018/19, the HA plans to gradually attain an increase of over 44 000 GOPC consultations, including at evening clinics and public holiday clinics. Moreover, the GOPC Public-Private Partnership Programme will be extended to more areas, with a view to covering all the 18 districts in phases in the coming two years," the spokesman said.
In addition, the fees and charges for Non-Eligible Persons (NEPs) and private patients will also be revised with effect from the same day. Those for NEPs will be revised based on 2015/16 cost level, while those for private patients will be revised based on the principle of cost recovery and with reference to market information. These services will not be subsidised by public money. The revised major fees and charges for NEPs and private patients are set out respectively in Annexes B and C.
To demonstrate the Government's commitment to improving public healthcare services, the additional medical income arising from the above fee and charge increases will all be retained by the HA. This will allow the HA to deploy all of the additional medical income to service improvements.
Ends/Monday, May 22, 2017
Issued at HKT 15:31
Issued at HKT 15:31