FAQs for Healthcare Service Providers
Healthcare Service Providers Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
Q1: Who can be enrolled under the Elderly Health Care Voucher Scheme as healthcare service providers?
A: The following healthcare professionals who are registered in Hong Kong and practise in private sector are eligible to enrol in the Scheme: medical practitioners, registered Chinese medicine practitioners, dentists, chiropractors, registered nurses and enrolled nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, radiographers, medical laboratory technologists, and optometrists (in Part I of the register).
Audiologists, dietitians, clinical psychologists and speech therapists registered with the relevant healthcare professional body accredited under Accredited Registers Scheme for Healthcare Professions of the Government are also eligible to enrol in the Scheme.
A: Advance enrolment of service providers participating in the Scheme is required to facilitate the creation of service provider account to access the electronic eHealth System (Subsidies) as well as the distribution of the Scheme logo, authentication token and Smart ID Card reader, etc.
Q3: How long will it take for healthcare service providers to know the results of their applications after they have submitted the application forms for enrolment?
A: Upon receipt of an enrolment application, The Department of health will inform the healthcare service provider the preliminary result of his/her application in writing in about 14 working days.
Q4: If the healthcare service provider has been successfully enrolled, can he delegate other subordinates/staff of the clinic to input data of the elderly persons in eHealth System (Subsidies) or to create voucher accounts for them? If so, should the staff responsible for data entry enrol with the Department of Health (DH) in advance?
A: To facilitate the administrative work for processing claims and reimbursement of health care vouchers, the enrolled healthcare service provider can create "data entry accounts" to delegate the data management work to their data entry clerks. Please refer to the following link (https://apps.hcv.gov.hk/HCSP/Demo/EN/serviceprovider.htm) for the steps in creating the data entry account. The enrolled healthcare service provider should log in the eHealth System (Subsidies) daily for checking and confirming the voucher account being created and claims information entered through the "data entry accounts". Advance enrolment with DH is not required for data entry clerks.
Q5: If there are several healthcare service providers practising in a private hospital, should each interested healthcare service provider enrol in the Scheme or should the enrolment be made solely by the hospital as a single unit?
A: Enrolment to the Scheme is not made solely in the name of a clinic or a hospital. Healthcare service providers practising in a medical organization should be enrolled as individual healthcare professionals together with their medical organization. The place of practice (e.g. the clinic) as well as the bank account designated for the reimbursement of the voucher claims should be specified during enrolment.
II. Services covered by the Scheme
Q6: Can health care vouchers be used for healthcare services provided by charitable organizations, non-profit making organizations or other non-government organizations?
A: Health care vouchers can be used for private (unsubsidized) healthcare services. Based on principle of avoiding double subsidy by the Government, unless otherwise specified, vouchers cannot be used for public services or those directly subsidized by the Government (including the publicly subsidized healthcare services purchased from the private sector). Health care vouchers can be used for healthcare services provided by charitable organizations, non-profit making organizations or other non-government organizations as long as the aforesaid principle is complied with.
Q7: Can health care vouchers be used for purchasing hearing aids at private institutions referred by the Hospital Authority?
A: Vouchers shall not be used only to purchase products not otherwise provided/ prescribed by enrolled healthcare service providers, such as hearing aids or medical equipment. However, vouchers can be used for the treatments or services prescribed and provided by enrolled healthcare service providers (including audiologists enrolled in the Elderly Health Care Voucher Scheme) in their professional capacities to meet the healthcare needs of elderly persons after consultation, as well as the medications, healthcare products and medical equipment, etc. provided to the elderly persons during the course of treatment. In this regard, the healthcare service providers shall assume professional responsibility towards the elderly persons.
A: It depends on the nature of the organizations by which the community nurses are employed. The eligible person can use health care vouchers to pay the services provided by the community nurses employed by private institutions. The principle is to avoid double subsidy by the Government.
A: No. The Elderly Health Care Voucher Scheme aims at enhancing the primary healthcare services for the elderly person. Therefore the voucher cannot be used for in-patient services.
Q10: Can health care vouchers be used for Accident & Emergency (A&E) services provided by private hospitals?
A: Yes, if the A&E services belong to out-patient services and no in-patient services are involved, the voucher can then be used for paying such services. Yet, as the Elderly Health Care Voucher Scheme aims at enhancing the primary healthcare services for the elderly persons, we hope that healthcare service providers can encourage elderly persons to use their health care vouchers for primary healthcare services.
A: Yes. Health care vouchers can be used for preventive and curative services performed at private out-patient clinics.
Q12: Can health care vouchers be used for day surgery procedures, e.g. cataract surgery or endoscopy services?
A: No. The Elderly Health Care Voucher Scheme aims at enhancing the primary healthcare services for the elderly persons, and therefore is not applicable to day surgery procedures.
A: No. Health care vouchers are for use in private healthcare “services”, and cannot be used for solely purchasing products such as medications, spectacles, dried seafood, personal care products, food products or medical equipment.
III. Handling health care vouchers
Q14: Within how many days should a service provider account be activated in eHealth System (Subsidies) upon receiving the “Account Confirmation Letter of Health Care Service Provider Enrolment”? Should healthcare service providers re-apply for enrolment if it is not activated within the designated period?
A: Activation of the service provider account should be done within 21 days of the date of issuance of the confirmation letter. If an account is not activated within 21 days, the application for enrolment may be regarded as withdrawn and the healthcare service provider may have to re-apply for enrolment.
A: Eligible elderly persons have to receive healthcare services in person provided by the enrolled healthcare service providers before they can use their vouchers to settle the relevant service fees. With a view to protecting the right and interest of elderly persons in using vouchers, healthcare service providers must request elderly persons to show their original HKIC for verification of identity. Any person who makes use of other's HKIC (e.g. a deceased elderly person) to use the latter's unspent vouchers might be charged of fraud and subject to criminal liability. The enrolled healthcare service provider involved in the case might also be subject to investigation and even criminal liability.
A: Before an enrolled healthcare service provider deduct vouchers from an elderly person’s account, consent has to be obtained from the elderly person on the amount of vouchers to be deducted to settle his/her healthcare service fee by asking the elderly persons to sign on the consent form. Enrolled healthcare service providers are also required to give a copy of the “Notice on Use of Health Care Voucher” attached to the consent form to the elderly person for retention and keep the consent forms for inspection by the Government representatives to ensure that public funds are properly used.
A: The consent forms should be retained until the expiry of 7 complete financial years of the Government from the calendar year in which the relevant reimbursements are made to the healthcare service provider or his/her medical organization or until any dispute between the parties in relation to the Scheme is settled or adjudicated, whichever is the later.
A: If the elderly person is illiterate, he/she can put a mark or finger print on the space for signature to indicate that he/she understands and agrees with the amount of vouchers deducted in the presence of an adult as witness. The enrolled healthcare service provider needs to show the witness the “Consent of Witness/Guardian to Transfer Personal Data” which contains the terms that they are required to consent to and the statement of purpose. After reading the above document, the witness should write his/her name, HKIC number and date on the consent form and sign it. The document “Consent of Witness/Guardian to Transfer Personal Data” is available for downloading here.
Q19: If the elderly person is illiterate, can staff of medical organizations (e.g. nurses) be the witness in the consent form?
A: Yes. The witness should write his/her name, HKIC number and date on the consent form and sign it.
Q20: What should healthcare service providers do for a temporary voucher account which failed validation?
A: This may be caused by errors in the elderly persons’ data inputted by the enrolled healthcare service provider through the eHealth System (Subsidies). We recommend that the enrolled healthcare service provider should check for any discrepancy between the data inputted and that of the elderly person’s existing records in the clinic (e.g. medical record). The enrolled healthcare service providers should contact the elderly person concerned for rectification if required and then rectify the elderly person’s inputted data as soon as possible. To avoid possible errors through manual input of elderly persons’ data, enrolled healthcare service providers are recommended to make use of the Smart ID Card reader provided and request the elderly persons to insert their HKID card into the reader for direct capturing of the required data into the eHealth System (Subsidies).
Q21: If an elderly person fails to present or forgets to bring a valid HKID card but insists to claim his/her health care vouchers when seeking consultation, what should the healthcare service provider do?
A: Please explain to the elderly person that health care vouchers can only be claimed upon presentation of a valid HKID card or Certificate of Exemption.
Q22: If healthcare service providers offering consultation by home visit do not have a computer or a printer, how can they claim vouchers for the elderly persons?
A: For those who do not have a computer, they can use smartphones or any device with commonly used browser to access eHealth System (Subsidies) for making voucher claims. For those who do not have a printer, they can bring along with them pre-printed consent forms and write down the elderly persons’ basic information (e.g. the name, HKIC number and the amount of vouchers to be deducted, etc.) for signing by the elderly person. The transaction number generated by the eHealth System (Subsidies) after the transaction should be marked on the consent form accordingly.
Q23: If an elderly person who has created a voucher account refuses to deduct any health care voucher for the visit, what should the healthcare service provider do?
A: The will of the elderly person should be respected.
Q24: How can the mentally incapacitated elderly persons (including those who are mentally handicapped and mentally disordered) use the vouchers?
A: Guardians are given the legal power by the Guardianship Board to make important decisions relating to personal circumstances for such adults about his/her place of residence or consenting to his/her medical or dental treatment. Guardians may also be given legal power to manage a limited amount of that person’s money. For cases with the Director of Social Welfare as the legal guardian, they will be followed up by social workers of the Social Welfare Department. Regarding elderly persons who are incapable of making their own decisions and have no legal guardian, issues concerned are usually handled by their family members or social workers (not duly authorized) on the premise that the benefit and welfare of the elderly persons are safeguarded. The above arrangements are applicable to the Scheme. The enrolled healthcare service provider needs to show the guardian the “Consent of Witness/Guardian to Transfer Personal Data” which contains the terms that they are required to consent to and the statement of purpose. After reading the above document, the guardian should write his/her name, HKIC number and date on the consent form and sign it. The document “Consent of Witness/Guardian to Transfer Personal Data” is available for downloading here.
Q25: If the material provided by the Department of Health is lost, what should the enrolled service provider do?
A: If the enrolled service provider loses the material provided by the Department of Health, he/she should approach the Health Care Voucher Division (HCVD) to report the loss and request for replacement. HCVD may collect fee from the service provider for the replacement of the material.
Q26: How can medical organizations and their healthcare service providers share the payment of vouchers?
A: Mutual agreement on the reimbursement arrangement should be sought between the healthcare service providers and medical organizations. They can choose to collect reimbursement through the account of one of the concerned parties. The nominated account for reimbursement should be indicated in the “Authority for Payment to a Bank” Form by both healthcare service providers and their medical organizations during the enrolment application.
V. Use of eHealth System (Subsidies)
Q27: If the enrolled healthcare service providers encountered technical problems in using the eHealth System (Subsidies), what can they do?
A: The enrolled healthcare service providers may read the “Technical Problems” under the FAQs in the eHealth System (Subsidies). The section can be accessed through the following link (https://apps.hcv.gov.hk/Documents/FAQs_e.pdf#SP).
Q28: If an elderly person has replaced his/her HKIC, can he/she continue to use vouchers in his/her voucher account?
A: Eligible elderly persons can continue to use their vouchers after replacing their HKIC. However, as the particular of an elderly person shown on his/her HKIC (e.g. date of issue) would be updated upon replacement of the elderly person's existing HKIC, you are suggested to use Smart ID card reader to make voucher claims to allow automatic update and validation of such particulars, thus saving your time and workload in verifying the updated particulars.
Health Care Voucher Division
Department of Health
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