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Grandpa Waited more than 30 Hours for Ward, then Denied Medisave Use

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SHAFIEE BARAHIM: My 88-year old grandfather was conveyed to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) from Woodlands Polyclinic on 31/07/14 (Thursday) after he had a bad fall and injured himself. He was registered at KTPH A&E at 12.06pm.

Later that day, after underwent x-ray and scanning, as suggested by the doctor, the family agreed to have him admitted for further observation. He stayed overnight at the A&E Care Corner as there was no available bed at any of the subsidised wards and we were told that the waiting time was expected to be at least 36 hours.

Only the next day (01/08/14, Friday) at 6.41pm, he managed to get a bed at Ward 105 (Class C). Prior to that, he had stayed more than 30 hours at the Care Corner due to insufficient beds.

The next day, the doctor at the Ward 105 agreed with the request from his family to have him discharged as he did not suffer any internal injury from that fall. He was discharged at about 4.51pm.

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It was quite strange that KTPH billed his family $222.05, to be paid in cash. The reason is that the Medisave withdrawal limit has exceeded, even though he only stayed in Ward Class C. Upon further questioning, the family was told that KTPH only factored in the admission time, from 01/08/14 6.42pm till 02/08/14 4.51pm. This was done despite that he was registered on 31/07/14 12.06pm at the A&E and had to stay there for more than 30 hours.

1. I wrote in to Quality Service Manager (MOH) on 07/08/14 to ask for their definition of ‘being admitted’. I got a reply from Cerelia Lim from KTPH on 18/08/14. Her email however did not clearly answer my query. I sent Cerelia another email on 18/08/14 to inform her that her email had failed to answer my question. Today (01/09/14), I sent another email to Cerelia as I am yet to get her reply. Only after email today, QSM MOH had reminded KTPH to follow-up on my query. Now, I am still waiting.

2. KTPH only managed to deduct $450 from the Medisave account. For the remaining $222.05 is to be paid in cash despite that my grandfather was warded from 31/07/14 till 02/08/14. Since the withdrawal limit is $450 per day, why couldnt the hospital deduct all $672.05 from the Medisave? Even when my grandfather had stayed 2 nights (52 hours since he was registered at KTPH A&E), why only a maximum $450 could be deducted from the Medisave?

3. My grandfather managed to get a bed at Ward 105 (Class C) on 01/08/14 at 6.42pm. It was not a case where it was the family’s fault nor the patient’s. It was a case where there was no available bed at any of the subsidised wards at KTPH at that point of time. Is it right to ‘punish’ the family by making them to pay $222.05 in cash when the full amount $672.05 could have been deducted 100% from the Medisave?

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Guess it is never easy for us to use our CPF; even our Medisave to pay for the hospital bills.

So much, about honouring our pioneers, including my 88-year old grandfather.

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