No treatment denied because of payment problems

In response to a letter published in ST Forum on 24 March 2012 written in by a Ms Karen Lee (see below):-

No treatment denied because of payment problems, replies KKH WE ASSURE Ms Karen Lee (‘We had to pay first before treatment at KKH…’; today) that our patients’ health and care for their conditions are our foremost concern and priority.

The Children’s Emergency at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital is a service that attends to emergency conditions among infants and children up to 16 years of age. …

When a patient visits the Children’s Emergency through a doctor’s referral or a self-visit, he is first triaged to assess the condition and urgency for medical intervention.

Once triaged, the parent or caregiver is required to register the child, so that a thorough medical assessment can be conducted and appropriate treatment rendered.

The payment counter is located near the registration counter for ease of payment at the time of registration. Also, as the majority of parents/caregivers are accompanying children who are ill or injured, uncomfortable and probably irritable, this measure was put in place for their convenience and to reduce the time they spend at Children’s Emergency after the doctor’s consultation and the necessary care and advice are provided.

We do not compel payment upon registration, and would certainly never withhold treatment.

Should a parent or caregiver express an inability to pay at registration, we would still continue to render all necessary treatment. Those who express financial difficulties are referred to our medical social workers for assistance where appropriate.

At no point will medical care ever be delayed or withheld due to any financial reasons.

Associate Professor Ng Kee Chong Deputy Chairman, Division of Medicine Senior Consultant and Head, Department of Emergency Medicine KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital  

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This is the letter by Ms Karen Lee:-

Published on Mar 24, 2012 22

IN MONDAY’S report (‘No one will be denied medical treatment: Gan’), Health Minister Gan Kim Yong stated that anyone requiring medical treatment would be cared for and that ‘collection comes later’.

This was not the case when my husband took my two-week-old baby to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) earlier this year. My baby was down with fever and it being a public holiday, we took our child to KKH’s accident and emergency (A&E) department.

My husband waited for almost an hour before a nurse assessed my baby. After the initial assessment, my husband had to pay the A&E fee of $90, and continued waiting before he could finally see a doctor.

My baby was subsequently admitted for overnight observation in the hospital. Granted that my baby’s illness may not be as serious as other cases, it still puzzles me as to why we had to pay the bill prior to seeing the doctor. Thus, in my case, it was pay first before treatment. Karen Lee (Ms)

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comments:-

  •  Since Ms Lee’s baby is only 2 weeks old, perhaps she’s not so familiar with KKH. The counter is there for registration and payment, no doubt. However, they would still let u in even if theres no payment.There was once, my husband forgot to bring his wallet, in his rush to send kid to kkh. He was shocked the counter people just asked him to go ahead to wait for the doctor, payment later, no problem.

    Incidentally, we have brought our kids to other private hospitals’ A&Es, (which would for sure, asked to scan your visa card first) and have concluded that KKH is still the best hospital for children. The only downside, it tends to have a very long queue at most times.

  •  As a WSH manager for my project, I have to accompany injured workers to seek treatment, even if they are not under my direct employment.So often times, the hospital administrative staff will ask if I can sign a gurantee form (to gurantee that the employer will pay for the bills) and I’d say, I’m not the employer.

    And then they’d say, OK, we’ll put that aside first.

    Let’s treat this poor guy and we’ll talk $$ later. They don’t even rush you to fill up a form to say you will pay, much less ask you to pay on the spot.

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