Additional Question by Hon KP Chan:
The diagnosis-related groups (DRG) methodology, also known as service packages, are highly attractive to consumers because of increased transparency in healthcare charges which brings certainty to the patient budget. Although DRGs and service packages are the more the merrier as far as the patients are concerned, they are apparently something both private hospitals and doctors are very much reluctant or prejudiced against. The most difficult job for the Government is to mediate between the consumers who stand firmly behind the DRGs and the private health providers who see DRGs as highly infeasible. My question to the Secretary for Food and Health is, in what ways will you be able to convince the private medical sector to look into the feasibility of this methodology with the goal of reaching an amicable solution to both consumers and health providers?
Reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow:
The trend in rising healthcare costs concerns both our community at large and the healthcare professionals, who regardless of their roles, would welcome an objective mechanism with a high level of transparency to calculate the cost of our medical expenses. The most critical part is that, we are able to clearly demonstrate to our industry colleagues, through the DRG methodology, any procedures they perform would yield a reasonable return. International experience proves that DRG can calculate costs over time and help develop a health insurance system that is cherished by the public or the society. We shall continue to engage work in the area which is expected to finish in 2013.