Enhancing the National Healthcare System for Outpatient Care Subsidies for Merdeka Generation
The Ministry of Health (MOH) nation-wide implementation of the outpatient care subsidies for the Merdeka Generation (MG) Package was slated for launch at midnight on 1 November 2019. The enhancements would affect 12 systems critical to the administration of SingHealth clusters, National Healthcare Group and National University Health Systems for outpatient billing. The additional subsidies apply to all polyclinics, public Specialist Outpatient Clinics and CHAS Clinics and affect daily outpatient operations – including, registration, billing and pharmacy.
Some 500,000 Merdeka seniors would be eligible to receive the following additional subsidies to their outpatient care and patient journey:
a. At polyclinics and Specialist Outpatient Clinics (SOCs):
Additional 25 per cent off postsubsidy bill for subsidised services
b. At GP and dental clinics on the Community Health Assist Scheme(CHAS):
Special CHAS subsidies for common illnesses, chronic conditions and selected dental services. Subsidy rates are higher than CHAS Blue subsidies.
A Project Team began working on the implementation more than a year prior to the launch to ensure the enhancements were integrated with 12 systems across the clusters from patient registration and billing systems to pharmacy and interface systems.
The strategic national healthcare initiative required a stringent framework to test, monitor and mitigate the implementation. Test Framework v0.5 training was provided to the project team to ensure adoption went well. IHiS put priority on first identifying the risks and conducting comprehensive risk assessments. 47 risks were identified for the 12 impacted key systems as well as several other common interface systems. The team actively managed the identified risks via mitigation and contingency plans.
In order to ensure reliability and quality consistency in the systems and to safeguard project delivery, the project team also underwent a Quality Assurance Review. The project team went through a stringent oversight, regular risk management process, bi-weekly progress update to MOH Deputy Secretary (Policy) and MOH Healthcare Finance team and regular update to MOH Permanent Secretary (Health) and Minister for Health.
Users from the three clusters involved in the project also showed tremendous support. Particularly in the Production Verification activity conducted from midnight on 1 November, they were supported in this important activity three hours to further ensure the success and smooth roll-out of the enhancements. The great teamwork shown by MOH, clusters and IHiS contributed to the success of the project implementation.
On 1 November 2019, some 14,000 patients received their additional subsidies. The project team supported the enhanced systems with a post-implementation monitoring phase for two weeks and subsequent application maintenance support thereafter.
Private Sector IT Systems
In addition to the efforts covering the public sector IT systems, the IHiS Primary Care team worked on supporting the private sector General Practitioners (GPs) for the MGP claims. The efforts include enhancing the GPConnect system as well as working with other vendors in the SmartCMS programme to enhance their respective IT products.
The team completed the work before the 1 November 2019 target and ensured a smooth transition of these enhancements for more than 200 GPConnect clinics and another 700 over GP clinics using IT systems from the vendors participating in the SmartCMS programme.