SINGAPORE: From Apr 3, patients who qualify for the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) and MediSave payments can go for their regular follow-ups of seven chronic conditions through video consultation.
This is to help patients avoid physical visits at the clinic amid the COVID-19 outbreak, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a news release on Tuesday (Mar 31).
Currently, CHAS subsidies and MediSave are only available for physical consultations.
To support safe distancing, this “time-limited and exceptional extension" of CHAS and MediSave for video consultation will apply to patients with diabetes, hypertension, lipid disorder, major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and anxiety.
“Patients with these conditions can generally be managed through video consultations without physical examination if these conditions are stable. Together, they also account for a high proportion of patients who use CHAS and MediSave for their chronic treatments,” said MOH.
The extension will remain in place until the deactivation of the Public Health Preparedness Clinic (PHPC) scheme, or otherwise determined by the Health Ministry, it added.
Healthcare professionals who wish to provide video consultations that can be paid using CHAS subsidies and MediSave will be required to undergo telemedicine e-training “to familiarise themselves with the best practices”, said MOH, adding that details will be shared with them separately.
"Healthcare providers should only carry out video consultations for patients that providers had physical consultations with previously, so that they can confirm the patient’s suitability for video consultation before its use,” said MOH.
“Whenever it is assessed to be necessary, such as when a physical examination is required, the provider should ask the patient to come into the clinic for a physical consultation.”
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The list of healthcare institutions providing CHAS Chronic subsidy and MediSave for video consultations can be found at www.moh.gov.sg/covid-19/vc from Friday, and the number of providers will be “progressively ramped up” as more providers adopt video consultation, the ministry said.
Patients may also wish to check with their healthcare provider to determine their suitability for video consultations of the selected chronic conditions, it added.
Announcing the measures at a press conference on Tuesday, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said: “This will allow patients whose conditions are stable to use video consultation and avoid a physical visit to a clinic during this period of time.”
Urging Singaporeans to take safe distancing measures seriously, Mr Gan said: “Safe distancing measures can save the lives of fellow Singaporeans, our friends or family members and our loved ones.”