The Health Bureau (SSM) said in a statement on Thursday that since the launch of its annual medical subsidy programme – known as health vouchers – in 2009, its officials have carried out 3,711 inspections in private clinics and medical institutions that have joined the programme, and transferred 504 cases to the Public Prosecution Office (MP) for allegedly defrauding the government through the illegal use of the vouchers.
The statement also said that the bureau has cancelled the programme membership of 49 medical professionals since the programme’s launch because they breached the scheme’s rules, comprising five general practitioners (Western medicine), 35 traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners, and nine health professionals working in medical institutions. The statement pointed out that the government will not allow these medical professionals to rejoin the programme in the future.
The amount of health vouchers for each recipient was MOP 500 when the programme was launched in 2009. The amount was raised to the current MOP 600 in 2013. The scheme only covers permanent residents.
As part of its financial support measures to help residents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has issued an additional health voucher of MOP 600 for each beneficiary for this year’s programme so that they will receive two vouchers worth MOP 1,200 in total for this year’s programme.