Hong Kong – Elderly Health Care Voucher Greater Bay Area service points to extend to Zhongshan City, Guangdong Province, from next Thursday

Elderly Health Care Voucher Greater Bay Area service points to extend to Zhongshan City, Guangdong Province, from next Thursday

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     The Department of Health (DH) today (July 12) announced that the service points where the Elderly Health Care Voucher (EHCV) is allowed to be used in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) will be extended to Zhongshan Chen Xinghai Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine (ZSCXH) located in Zhongshan starting from next Thursday (July 18). By then, together with the two service points operated by the University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen (HKU-SZ) Hospital at its hospital and the Huawei Li Zhi Yuan Community Health Service Center (CHC) as well as the First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University (FAH-SYSU), which also came under the EHCV GBA Pilot Scheme (Pilot Scheme) from the end of last month, eligible Hong Kong elderly persons can use the EHCVs for outpatient healthcare services at four GBA service points.

     Since 2015, the use of EHCV has expanded across the river to the HKU-SZ Hospital in Shenzhen. Further to the expansion on June 28 allowing the use of EHCV at the FAH-SYSU in Guangzhou, the ZSCXH is the third medical institution providing integrated services in the GBA implementing relevant arrangements. Crossing the river and reaching Zhongshan City, the arrangement also coincides with the routing of the Shenzhen-Zhongshan Link which was commissioned on June 30.

     Starting from July 18, elderly persons will be able to use EHCVs to pay for outpatient healthcare services provided by the following 13 designated departments of the hospital: General Outpatient Clinic, Internal Medicine Department, Surgical Department, Health Check Center, Disease Prevention Center, Emergency Department, Dental Department, Disease Prevention Center by Herbal Medicine, Rehabilitation Department, Massage Department, Orthopaedics Department, Gynaecology Department and Ophthalmology Department.

     The arrangements for shared use of EHCVs between spouses and the EHCV Pilot Reward Scheme under the EHCV Scheme are equally applicable to the ZSCXH. Elderly persons receiving designated primary healthcare outpatient services for health checks, and preventive and follow-up/monitoring of long-term conditions provided by the 13 aforementioned departments at the ZSCXH can accumulate EHCV spending and be allotted rewards.

     Elderly persons who intend to use EHCVs at the ZSCXH should first undergo identity verification and registration in person by presenting a valid Hong Kong identity card or Certificate of Exemption issued by the Immigration Department at the Hong Kong Elderly Health Care Voucher Reception located at the lobby on 1/F of the ZSCXH. Elderly persons not having their first appointment at the hospital can also make reservations through the official WeChat service account of the hospital. Upon attending a medical appointment, elderly persons should first register at the Hong Kong Elderly Health Care Voucher Reception at the lobby on 1/F of the hospital and wait for triage by the hospital staff. After receiving outpatient services at the designated departments, elderly persons can use EHCVs to pay the relevant fees at the relevant cashier of the department according to instructions from the hospital staff.

     The fees for the healthcare services provided by the ZSCXH are denominated in Renminbi. The hospital will make EHCV claims for elderly persons, and the EHCV amount deducted in Hong Kong dollars will be calculated according to a monthly updated voucher conversion factor under the EHCV Scheme. The monthly voucher conversion factor will be displayed at the abovementioned cashier offices for the elderly’s reference.

     A DH spokesman said, “Hong Kong elderly persons using EHCVs at any designated medical institution in the GBA should have registered with eHealth. In other words, the relevant arrangements apply to the HKU-SZ Hospital, Huawei Li Zhi Yuan CHC, the FAH-SYSU, the ZSCXH, and the remaining five pilot medical institutions that will launch relevant arrangements under the Pilot Scheme in future. After joining eHealth, elderly persons can make use of its mobile app to check their EHCV balance and usage record, as well as access at any time important information such as their medications, allergies and adverse drug reactions stored in the eHealth app. If elderly persons wish to use EHCVs at the GBA medical institutions but they have not yet registered with eHealth, the medical institutions will immediately register eHealth for the elderly upon getting their consent so that they can use EHCVs right away.

     “In addition, elderly persons cannot use EHCVs together with national medical insurance to pay the fees of the same healthcare service encounter. The scope of using EHCVs on the Mainland is the same as that in Hong Kong, which does not include inpatient services, prepaid healthcare services and day surgery procedures. EHCVs cannot be used solely for the purchase of goods, medication, medical equipment or products, nor can they be redeemed for cash.”In February this year, the Government included five medical institutions providing integrated services (all with dental services) and two dental medical institutions in the Pilot Scheme. The Government is actively carrying out preparatory work with the remaining five medical institutions included in the Pilot Scheme, and is making good progress. These five medical institutions will progressively launch the relevant arrangements and details will be announced in due course.

     ​Launched in 2009, the EHCV Scheme currently subsidises eligible Hong Kong elderly persons aged 65 and above with an annual EHCV amount of $2,000 (with the accumulation limit set at $8,000) for them to choose private primary healthcare services that best suit their health needs. Members of the public may browse the EHCV Scheme website (www.hcv.gov.hk) or call the EHCV Scheme hotline (2838 2311) for information on the EHCV Scheme.

Hong Kong – Health Bureau responds to media enquiries on interest of tertiary institutions to offer medical programmes

Health Bureau responds to media enquiries on interest of tertiary institutions to offer medical programmes

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     In response to media enquiries on the interest of tertiary institutions to offer medical programmes, a spokesman for the Health Bureau (HHB) gave the following response today (July 8):

     The HHB is aware that a number of local tertiary institutions have publicly indicated their interest in offering medical programmes. The HHB keeps an open mind towards any initiatives conducive to nurturing local medical students and increasing healthcare manpower supply. In terms of healthcare manpower training, it is essential that any new medical programme must secure sufficient manpower and facilities for teaching and training to ensure teaching quality, and must contribute to increasing the supply of local doctors for meeting the rising demand for healthcare services in Hong Kong.

     The Government will consider medical programme proposals from any tertiary institutions in accordance with the established mechanisms for local tertiary institutions to offer programmes. In reviewing medical programme proposals, the HHB will take into account factors such as the development needs of the healthcare system, the local healthcare manpower projection, the demand and supply of teaching and training manpower, and the relevant teaching and training facilities including teaching hospitals. The HHB will also discuss with relevant bureaux on ancillaries such as the development of tertiary institutions, financial resources required, and land supply for university campuses before making further consideration. The introduction of medical programmes and provision of training facilities involve enormous public money. The programmes have to be accredited and recognised by the Medical Council of Hong Kong so that the graduates can possess the qualifications to become registered local medical practitioners.   

     Since the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) expressed its interest in introducing medical programmes last year, the HHB and the HKUST have all along maintained communication. The HHB has so far received from the HKUST a few pages on the initial ideas and slideshows introducing the initial ideas. The HHB has learned from the HKUST that the plan is still in its planning stage, while detailed proposals are still being formulated. At present, the HKUST has yet to formally submit detailed proposals of the relevant plan to the Government. It is too early to comment on the relevant plan at the current stage.

Hong Kong – FEHD interdicts five Health Inspectors from duty for conspiracy to steal

FEHD interdicts five Health Inspectors from duty for conspiracy to steal

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     A spokesman for the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) said today (June 19) that, in response to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) filing charges against five Health Inspectors of the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) yesterday (June 18) for conspiracy to steal, the FEHD has interdicted the staff members concerned from their duties.

     The spokesman stressed that the FEHD attaches great importance to the discipline and conduct of staff and does not tolerate any illegal and fraudulent acts. The department has adopted extra precautionary measures, including refining the working guidelines, streamlining procedures and enhancing the information system for the procurement and record of food samples by the CFS. These efforts aim to enhance the supervisory work. The department has also invited the ICAC to assist in improving the relevant procedures.

     In view of the ongoing legal proceedings, the FEHD will not comment on the specifics of the case.

Canada – Health Canada’s Science Advisory Committee on Pest Control Products (SAC-PCP): June 26, 2024 meeting agenda is now available online

Ninth Meeting: Wednesday, June 26, 2024, 11:00 am to 2:00 pm EST

Virtual meeting over Zoom

Objectives

Present a summary of Committee recommendations and PMRA’s response for the science question on the scientific criteria to inform the Proportional Effort framework for pesticides
Present the Committee with a science question for advice on the scientific evidence, explanations and rationales for the health risk assessment that is the basis of the proposed Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs), using glyphosate as an example
Discuss the forward agenda and topics for future meetings

Item
Time
Topic
Open to observers

1
5 min
Welcome and introductory remarks
Yes

2
5 min
Co-chairs address, review of affiliations and interests, walkthrough of meeting agenda
Yes

3
10 min
Summary of Committee recommendations and PMRA’s response for the science question on the scientific criteria to inform the Proportional Effort framework for pesticides
Yes

4
30 min
Presentation on the science question seeking SAC-PCP input and recommendations on the scientific evidence, explanations and rationales for the health risk assessment that is the basis of the proposed Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs), using glyphosate as an example
Yes

5
10 min
Break and departure of observers
No

6
100 min
Committee deliberation and discussion period surrounding the science question
No

7
5 min
Decision on the due date for the science question
No

8
10 min
Roundtable discussion and forward agenda
No

9
5 min
Closing remarks and adjournment of meeting
No

Home Health Leaders Applaud Bipartisan Senators for Urging CMS to Prioritize Home Health Access

 The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare (the Partnership) commends Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) for recently sending a letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure underscoring the value of Medicare home health and urging CMS to consider the importance of home health as it develops payment policy for 2025.

In the letter to CMS, Senators Stabenow and Collins wrote:

“The Medicare home health benefit delivers essential services to seniors and people with disabilities who are homebound and require skilled nursing or rehabilitative care… Home care is cost-effective, high-quality, and patient-preferred, and home health agencies work every day to deliver critical services to Medicare beneficiaries.

“We appreciate CMS’s commitment to helping people get the care they need, where they need it. This must include home health services for people with Medicare. As CMS proceeds to develop Medicare home health payment rates for 2025, we urge you to consider the value home health care provides to the Medicare program and its beneficiaries.

“Home health services are a lifeline for seniors, people with disabilities, those with limited mobility, and their family members. Ensuring access to this care should be among CMS’s highest priorities.”

Senators Stabenow and Collins are lead Senate sponsors of the Preserving Access to Home Health Act (S. 2137), legislation to prevent CMS from implementing additional payment cuts to Medicare home health. Specifically, the bill is designed to address deep cuts made to home health by CMS that began this year and will continue until at least 2028.

“Senators Stabenow and Collins are true champions for Medicare home health, and we applaud their continued leadership to protect the Medicare benefit and access to home-based healthcare for older Americans,” said Joanne Cunningham, CEO of the Partnership. “We urge CMS to listen to the Senators’ advice to ensure beneficiary access to home health is prioritized in their rulemaking.”

To read the Stabenow-Collins letter to CMS, click here.

About PQHH

The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare represents community- and hospital-based home healthcare agencies across the U.S. and is dedicated to developing innovative reforms to improve the quality, efficiency, and integrity of home healthcare. To learn more, visit www.pqhh.org.

Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare
Ellen Almond
(202) 271-0234
pqhh.org

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