Coverage of Elderly Health Care Voucher Scheme to extend to include four categories of healthcare profession under Accredited Registers Scheme for Healthcare Professions
The Chief Executive announced in the 2022 Policy Address the enhancement of the EHVS, including extending the coverage of the EHVS to include services provided by audiologists, dietitians, clinical psychologists and speech therapists under the Accredited Registers Scheme for Healthcare Professions, as well as medical equipment (such as hearing aids) prescribed and provided by them in their professional capacities to meet the healthcare needs of elderly persons.
The above enhancement measure will be implemented starting from tomorrow, and it is estimated that almost 1.7 million eligible elderly persons will be able to benefit from it. The Government calls on audiologists, dietitians, clinical psychologists and speech therapists registered with the relevant healthcare professional bodies accredited under the Accredited Registers Scheme for Healthcare Professions to enrol in the EHVS so as to provide elderly persons with added choices of private primary healthcare services.
Together with the four new categories of healthcare professions, eligible elderly persons will be able to make use of vouchers to pay for primary healthcare services provided by a total of 14 categories of healthcare professions (i.e. medical practitioners, Chinese medicine practitioners, dentists, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, radiographers, medical laboratory technologists, chiropractors, optometrists with Part I registration, audiologists, dietitians, clinical psychologists and speech therapists). As of end March this year, over 11 000 healthcare service providers in Hong Kong had already enrolled in the EHVS. Eligible elderly persons can use vouchers at over 33 000 service points in the 18 districts across the territory.
Under the EHVS, persons aged 65 and above who hold a valid Hong Kong identity card or a Certificate of Exemption issued by the Immigration Department will be given an annual voucher amount of $2,000 to pay for services provided by private primary healthcare service providers enrolled in the EHVS. Any unused voucher amount can be carried forward for use in the following years, subject to an accumulation limit of $8,000. Vouchers are issued and used through an electronic platform. Therefore, eligible elderly persons do not need to pre-register, collect or carry the vouchers.
A spokesman for the DH reminded that vouchers are not applicable to inpatient services, prepaid healthcare services and day surgery procedures. Moreover, vouchers cannot be used solely for purchasing goods, medication, medical equipment and products, or redeemed for cash. The DH has put in place checking and auditing measures and procedures under the EHVS to ensure proper disbursement of public monies, and will carry out investigations on complaints received. The DH will take appropriate actions and measures when a violation of terms and conditions of the EHVS Agreement is found during investigation.
The spokesman added, "As regards another two enhancement measures of the EHVS as announced in the 2022 Policy Address, viz allowing the shared use of vouchers between spouses and an additional allotment of a $500 voucher amount to elderly persons with conditions under a three-year pilot scheme, the Government is actively working on the relevant details with a view to launching them this year to further encourage the more effective use of private primary healthcare services by the elderly and support their healthcare needs. The Government will make announcements about the details in due course."
Members of the public may refer to the EHVS website (www.hcv.gov.hk) for more information, or call the EHVS hotline (2838 2311) for enquiries. Information on enrolled service providers and relevant practices in Hong Kong are available on the following website (apps.hcv.gov.hk/public/en/SPS/Search).
Ends/Thursday, April 27, 2023
Issued at HKT 16:30
Issued at HKT 16:30