Singapore

MOH publishes fee benchmarks for common surgical procedures

Fee benchmarks for 222 common surgical procedures by private surgeons here, such as hip replacement and colonoscopy, were published online yesterday by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on its website.

The move is part of government measures to boost transparency and rein in rising healthcare costs, and comes after MOH accepted recommendations from the Fee Benchmarks Advisory Committee.

Committee chairman, Dr Lim Yean Teng, said the fee guidelines are aimed at enabling private sector healthcare providers to set appropriate charges.

The guidelines can also be used by insurers to make their products and claims processes clearer and smoother for patients.

However, healthcare providers do not need to adhere to the charges stipulated in the guidelines.

While doctors who charge more than the benchmarks may not be overcharging, the committee said they should inform the patient and insurer before the surgery is performed.

Explaining why some surgeons may charge fees higher than what is recommended, Dr Lim, a cardiologist in private practice who had worked in the public sector for 24 years, said: "For example, a patient may have underlying kidney failure or heart disease, and you have to do extra monitoring and the surgery may have to be done under certain conditions."

MEDICAL & HEALTH