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CGH responds to allegations of overcharging patients

While CGH said that their charges are comparable with those of other public and private hospitals, they added that they “inadvertently stated only the upper limit of the estimated price range of the procedure”

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After a retiree wrote in to straitstimes.com’s Forum section with a letter titled: “Forum: Cost of hospital MRI higher than private clinic’s”, the hospital, Changi General Hospital (CGH) responded (Dec 31), with an explanation of their own.

They wrote that Mr Lim Chuan Poh was seen by a doctor as a private patient.

They said, “The price of a particular scan depends on factors such as the complexity of the patient’s condition, clinical protocols, type of machine used, the scan resolution and duration as well as the use of intravenous dye to enhance the image quality – all of which could have implications on the care of the patient”.

While CGH said that their charges are comparable with those of other public and private hospitals, they added that they “inadvertently stated only the upper limit of the estimated price range of the procedure”.

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In his original forum letter, Mr Lim said he made an appointment with the orthopaedic department of Changi General Hospital (CGH) on Dec 16 to have his shoulder looked into.

However, because the earliest appointment for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to ascertain the severity of a suspected rotator cuff tear was in late March, he decided to get an appointment at a private hospital for it.

Along with getting an appointment immediately at the private hospital, he was charged less than S$600 for it, including goods and services tax.

But at CGH he was quoted S$1,450.

In their response, Lim Lee Nor, the Chief Financial Officer of CGH wrote that the hospital had been in touch with Mr Lim.

Another forum letter writer felt that his mother was being possibly overcharged for a cataract operation and subsequent clinical follow-up at the National University Hospital (NUH).

He wrote: “She was diagnosed with the condition after a visit to Ngee Ann Polytechnic last July and from then on, my aged parents obtained referrals from Queenstown Polyclinic to benefit from subsidised treatment at the National University Hospital (NUH) Eye Centre.”

He added that his father was very upset over what he said was overcharging by NUH. “When I looked into the issue, I was shocked to learn that they had incurred more than $23,000,” wrote Mr Ian Lee Chi Meng. /TISG

Read related: NUH “charging more than $23,000 for cataract operation, follow-up”

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