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Singapore

Public hospitals owed $48 million in arrears in 2011

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said Singapore's public hospitals were owed$48 million in arrears as at end 2011.

SINGAPORE: Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said Singapore's public hospitals were owed$48 million in arrears as at end 2011.

Mr Gan told Parliament on Tuesday that this accounted for 136,000 bills, outstanding for two months or more.

In a written reply, Mr Gan said 83 per cent of the outstanding bills were incurred by Singaporean patients.

He said a significant part of arrears are eventually recovered or paid over time, but a portion will still become bad debt and has to be written off.

In 2010, $37 million was written off - this was up from the $26 million written off the year before.

Mr Gan said hospitals will send patients a reminder if they do not settle their bills.

If there is no response, hospitals may refer the case to an authorised debt collection agency.

If a patient says that he or she has problems paying, the hospital will explore options for financial help such as instalment payments or Medifund assistance.

Source: CNA/de

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