,Singapore

Singapore's Ministry of Health sets fee benchmarks for surgical procedures

Professional fees range from $160 for a nasendoscopy to $25,000 for a heart and coronary artery bypass graft.

Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) published fee benchmarks for private sector surgeon fees for common procedures in a bid to guide appropriate fee charging and help patients and payers make better informed decisions, an announcement revealed.

The development of these fee benchmarks is part of a larger strategy to ensure that healthcare costs and the overall system remain affordable and sustainable, MOH said.

“Patients are encouraged to use the benchmarks to have a conversation with their doctor on their treatment, the complexity of their condition and the fees charged,” MOH explained. “Medical providers and professionals should take reference from the benchmarks to set appropriate charges and make reference to it when advising their patients.”

The fee benchmarks are available for 222 procedures.

They range from $160 for a nasendoscopy to $25,000 for a heart and coronary artery bypass graft.

The benchmarks were developed by Singapore’s Fee Benchmarks Advisory Committee which is chaired by Lim Yean Teng, with its recommendations accepted in full by MOH, the statement revealed. The committee referenced data including 2017 transaction fees for Singapore citizen cases and inflation, as well as expertise, time and complexity for procedures to reflect a ‘fair’ range of professional fees.

MOH highlighted that the fee benchmark for each procedure is a range of fees to provide for variation across cases, with lower end fees associated with less complex cases and vice versa for more complex cases.

“The benchmarks are intended to cover routine and typical cases in the private sector,” MOH added. “The upper bound of the benchmarks do not constitute a fee cap and providers whose charges depart from them should provide an explanation to patients, caregivers and payers.”

The agency also noted that the benchmark for each procedure refers to the total professional fee for a particularly procedure, including the necessary assistance fees in a bid for doctors to exercise judgment in requiring assistance to ensure patient safety and operative efficiency.

MOH also highlighted that fee benchmarks are exclusive of anaesthetist fees.

“The initiative complements other measures, such as the publication of appropriate care and drug guidances, introduction of a co-payment requirement for new Integrated Shield Plan riders, and quality and cost benchmarking for the public healthcare providers,” MOH added.

The fee benchmarks can be found on MOH’s website

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