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     FrontPage Edition: Fri 22 February 2008

Private nursing home operators to bid for subsidised beds in pilot project


Improving the Intermediate and Long-Term Care Sector for the benefit of patients

The Ministry of Health (MOH) is looking to further improve the intermediate and long-term care (ILTC) sector to better cope with the diverse needs of a greying population.
Today, 59 nursing homes have over 8,500 licensed beds catering to patients with general medical conditions. About 60% of these nursing home beds are run by Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs), while 8 private nursing homes receive some portable subsidies.
To encourage private sector involvement, MOH has also earmarked land sites for private nursing homes, and 6 sites have been taken up for such development. This is part of MOH’s overall efforts to widen the range of ILTC choices, at different pricing levels and at different service standards. In the long run, this will help to improve performance, efficiency and standards of care to patients. Subsidy for the ILTC sector currently stands at $100 million, but is expected to increase.
Pilot Project for market-based subsidised beds
To further kick-start the involvement of private providers in the ILTC sector, MOH will embark on an exercise for private nursing home operators to bid for the provision of a pilot number of subsidised places.
Through this competitive market-based bidding system, we hope to get the best performance and value when allocating subsidized beds to existing or new providers. At the same time, we hope it will help to improve consistency in patient care and facilitate healthy competition between providers.
Private nursing home operators will be invited to submit their proposals for improvements together with their bids. Bids submitted will be assessed based on clinical, service and financial factors.
A performance monitoring and audit framework will also be put in place to ensure that the provider(s) deliver the level of care as required and committed to. MOH invites the private operators to submit their proposals by 20 March 2008.
Facilitating seamless patient care & improving market transparency
MOH is also committed to improving integration across healthcare providers. The Integrated Care Services (ICS) was jointly established by MOH, the National Healthcare Group and the Singapore Health Services in 2000 to facilitate a seamless flow of patient care in the community. The ICS does so by coordinating the registration, management and referrals to nursing homes, day rehabilitation centres and chronic sick facilities.
The ICS has since developed a “Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home ” which provides a listing of nursing homes and the categories of functional status/care needs it supports. It is a useful resource guide to assist prospective private patients and their families to seek out the nursing home most suited to their needs. A copy of the guide is attached, and it is also available at the ICS website
In October 2006, in a move to encourage more transparency in the sector, the MOH published data on the bed situation and charges for ILTC facilities. This information allowed Singaporeans to make more informed decisions on where to seek residential care based on their needs. It also provided the industry with comparative benchmarks and clearer market signals to develop its services.
The latest (2007) data for nursing homes - “MOH Supplement on Bed Statistics in Nursing Homes (Sep 2007)” and “MOH Supplement on Nursing Home Charges (Dec 2007) ”, is available at MOH’s website and at the ICS website
22 February 2008

Source: Press Release 22 Feb 2008

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