Singapore Ministry publishes benchmarks for surgery costs

 

The procedures where the benchmarks have been published account for 85% of surgical procedures in Singapore, and include Caesarean section, heart bypass and knee replacement.

The benchmarks were developed by the Fee Benchmarks Advisory Committee s appointed by MOH in January 2018 to develop an approach for setting reasonable fee benchmarks, and recommend the fee benchmarks for surgical procedures and services. The committee’s recommendations have been accepted in full by MOH.

The development of fee benchmarks is part of a larger strategy to ensure that healthcare costs remain affordable and the healthcare system sustainable. This comes amid increasing concerns that high healthcare costs in Singapore are putting off potential international patients. Other measures include quality and cost benchmarking for the public healthcare providers.

Patients are encouraged to use the benchmarks to have a conversation with their doctor about their treatment, the complexity of their condition and the fees charged.

Medical providers and professionals should take reference from the benchmarks to set appropriate charges and make reference to it when advising their patients.

In developing the benchmarks, the committee referenced data including actual fees and inflation. It also considered the complexity of the procedure, and the time, effort and expertise required of the professional for typical cases.

MOH will consult with relevant stakeholders to identify additional areas in which new fee benchmarks could be developed in future. The committee will also look into the frequency and approach of how the published fee benchmarks could be periodically reviewed to ensure that they remain relevant.

The benchmark fees are not legally binding, but doctors who charge above the benchmarks will have to explain their reasons for doing so when asked.

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