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LCQ7: Community Care Fund Medical Assistance Programmes

     Following is a question by the Hon Alan Leong and a written reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow, in the Legislative Council today (December 21):


     The Community Care Fund (CCF) has launched 12 programmes one after another, including two Medical Assistance Programmes, namely the First Phase Programme and the Second Phase Programme.  The First Phase Programme has been accepting applications since August 1 this year, while the Second Phase Programme is expected to commence in the first quarter of next year.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) when the authorities will conduct a review of the First Phase Programme; whether the six cancer drugs subsidised under the Programme will be brought into the Samaritan Fund (SF) in the future; if they will, of the details; if not, how the authorities ensure the continuity of the subsidies; whether CCF will regularly review and update the list of subsidised drugs so that some new drugs may have the chance of being included as subsidised drugs under the First Phase Programme;

(b) as the Second Phase Programme will subsidise Hospital Authority patients facing economic difficulties but falling outside the SF safety net to use SF subsidised drugs, of the specific dates and timetable to implement the Second Phase Programme, the drugs and medical items expected to be subsidised, and the respective percentages of the amounts of subsidies of such drugs and medical items in the total amount of subsidies; and

(c) how the Steering Committee on CCF will enhance the transparency and accountability of CCF, including whether more relevant information and data will be made public to enable patients, patient groups and the public to know the procedures and criteria for selecting subsidised drugs, the amounts involved in subsidising various drugs and the number of beneficiaries, etc.?



(a) As far as the First Phase Programme of the Community Care Fund (CCF) Medical Assistance Programmes is concerned, apart from submission of progress reports to the Medical Sub-committee and the relevant committees of the CCF on a regular basis, the Hospital Authority (HA) will also conduct a detailed review on the effectiveness of the Programme after it has been implemented for a period of time.

     The CCF provides assistance to people facing economic difficulties, and implements measures on a pilot basis to help the Government identify those that can be considered for incorporation into the Government's regular assistance and service programmes.  The First and Second Phase Programmes of the CCF Medical Assistance Programmes will be implemented and open for applications on an on-going basis until cessation of funding from the CCF, or until a decision has been made after due consideration on whether the Programmes will be incorporated into the regular assistance and service programmes.

     Besides, when the six specified self-financed cancer drugs (at Annex) subsidised under the First Phase Programme have developed to a stage where the requirements under the existing mechanism are met, ie when the latest scientific evidence on the safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness of these drugs has shown that they have met the established requirements, due consideration will be given for them to be incorporated into the Samaritan Fund (SF) safety net or the Drug Formulary for provision to the public at HA's standard fees and charges.  Moreover, the HA will continue to identify self-financed drugs which meet the requirements for subsidy under the First Phase Programme in accordance with the established drug review mechanism and make recommendations to the Medical Sub-committee and the relevant committees of the CCF for inclusion into the Programme.

(b) The Second Phase Programme of the CCF Medical Assistance Programmes aims to provide assistance to those HA patients who marginally fail to meet the eligibility for subsidy under the SF.  The HA is working on the programme implementation plan and the details are expected to be announced early next year.

(c) The statement of accounts of the CCF is audited by the Director of Audit and incorporated into the financial report of the Secretary for Home Affairs Incorporated for tabling at the Legislative Council annually.  Apart from uploading the registers of interests of members of the committees under the CCF, the summary of discussion of meetings and information about its assistance programmes, etc. onto the CCF website, the CCF also issues press releases and conducts publicity when launching assistance programmes with a view to enhancing its transparency.

     With the launch of more assistance programmes in phases, the CCF will release more information and data.  As to the First Phase and Second Phase Medical Assistance Programmes, apart from updating the relevant committees on the progress of the Programmes on a regular basis, the HA has set up in its website a dedicated webpage on the CCF Medical Assistance Programmes with the programme details.  Meanwhile, the HA will also arrange for uploading the relevant drug review and selection mechanism as well as the cumulative number of approved applications and amount of subsidies onto the above dedicated webpage for public information.  This dedicated webpage also contains hyperlinks to the websites of the Food and Health Bureau and the CCF, enabling the public to access information on the Medical Assistance Programmes from various channels.

Ends/Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Issued at HKT 16:29


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