Other People's Money 3
I nearly missed the reply from Touch Home Care:
Nov 15, 2005
Care for elderly: New fees allow more access to wider range of services
I refer to the letter 'Government should relook at the means test for medical subsidy' by Ms Wendy Teo (ST Online Forum Nov 9). We thank Ms Teo for bringing this matter to our attention.
The means test is commonly used by agencies for individuals who wish to apply for subsidies. The objective of the test is to ensure better allocation of resources in providing financial assistance to the people who need it most.
Although the means test has been used by the government to determine its subsidy level to our clients since 2002, TOUCH Home Care (THC) only started charging fees at the beginning of this year as it was able to sustain its free services in the past.
In Ms Teo's case, her mother had enjoyed free services, fully subsidised by THC, for the past three years. However our client base has doubled over the last few years.
To effectively meet the needs of our existing and future clients and to sustain our services, it has become necessary for us to charge fees. We hope to ensure the prudent and efficient use of resources while meeting the needs of the elderly under our care.
We fully empathise with Ms Teo's situation and wish to assure her that THC is committed to do its best to help the elderly enjoy greater independence and better quality of life at home.
We are constantly reviewing our policies to improve our services to those in need and we welcome feedback. For this reason, we have recently developed a new fee structure in which a client pays a flat rate instead of being charged on a per visit basis.
This new structure allows our elderly clients to have access to a wide variety of services, including occupational therapist support, counselling services, visits by doctors and nurses, at a flat rate.
The new fee structure is partially subsidised by THC as we are mindful of the financial challenges faced by families which do not pass the means test.
We are glad that Ms Teo has found our services useful. We invite Ms Teo to meet us for a discussion so that we can better understand her situation and explore alternative arrangements.
TOUCH Home Care