PATIENT FEELS CHEATED AFTER BEING DENIED INSURANCE CLAIM FOR SGH TREATMENT

This incident described my unfortunate encounter I have with SGH.

On 16 Apr 2015, I visited the ENT clinic at SGH for a check up referred by polyclinic doctor. It was my first time doing the check up there for ENT. I was asked by the doctor to do a series of check up including nasal and hearing test which I supposed are the standard test there to see whether I have any problem.

Problem is that they initiated the test and I was asked to sign some “consent form” to acknowledge on the test which I was going to do and some of which they would treat it like a surgery. eg. the nasal test which they put a tube into the nose. As a layman, I didn’t know much about all these and the only thing I know is that if I refused to sign the consent form, they wouldn’t do any test and that would defeat the purpose of my checkup.

When the time came for me to make payment, I was not informed that there are actually 3 payments mode available which are Cash/Nets/Credit Card, Medisave or by submission to the insurance to see whether i am eligible for claim or not. Throughout my few hours stay at ENT from the registration till the payment counter before leaving, I wasn’t briefed on the 3 choice of payment mode. Instead, at the payment counter, I was only asked the question whether to make payment via Cash/Nets/Credit Card or Medisave.

Since I was able to make insurance claim for all my previous medical expenses due to my insurance plan, I thought I could happily use credit card payment mode for the about $200 spending so that I would be able to claim later with my bill and receipt. I wasn’t working so I had to be cautious about my spending.

Problem come when during the following day, I tried to make my claim via my insurance company I was rejected as the clinic was supposed to generate an E-bill and send to my insurance company otherwise I wouldn’t be able to claim. Another problem was the nasal tube insertion test initiated by the doctor was classified as “surgery” so I may not be able to claim. Should’t all these be brief to all patients and layman like myself so that we wouldn’t be caught in a situation?

Later after I was turned down by the insurance company on my $200 claim, I went back to the hospital to complain on this unpleasant experience and they promised to look into it. Basically, I just demanded a proper apology letter on the unpleasant experience caused and then we could move on. But instead, the manager of the ENT department and its executive turned around and said that the payment billing staff counter has duly explained to me the 3 modes of payment, when I know for sure that no one told me anything about the 3 options. They claimed that the billing payment counter staff was interviewed and she denied the mistake she has made.

Luckily I kept a record of the entire voice conversation that day during my visit to the ENT. Indeed, the recording was that she only asked me whether want to pay by Medisave or Cash/Nets/Credit Card.

Although the apology letter was sent to me later on, it did not come clean on the errant staff mistake but merely apologised for the bad experience I encountered in general. In the midst of my correspondence, I was literally kicked around like a soccer ball when I made inquiry with the QSM department headed by Isabel Yong Yem Lai and Iris Lim Geok Kee.

What I felt is that since Vivian Balakrishnan asked the Opposition to come clean, so shouldn’t the government hospital staffs come clean as well instead of hiding the truth? I am not sure whether is it because they want to hide the bad service provided by their department to “improve” their KPI feedback. Nonetheless, I did initiated to provide my entire voice conversation recording for their investigation but instead they choose to quiet like the mouse and seemingly wanted to sweep this matter under the carpet as soon as possible.

Angry SGH Customer

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