According to research, six Singaporeans are diagnosed with blood diseases, like Leukaemia or Lymphoma, that may require a bone marrow/stem cell transplant.
The Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP) is Singapore’s only register of volunteer bone marrow donors and provides search services for hospitals to find a matching bone marrow donor from their local register and, if necessary, extend this search around the world in order to find a matching donor for their patients. It is often the last resort for many patients.
Once a potential donor with similar Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) as the patient is identified in the database, a Verification Typing is initiated to confirm the typing of the donor’s HLA.
At present, the cost involved in the procurement of bone marrow or blood stem cells (also known as the HPC product) is excluded from Medisave and MediShield. Such costs can go up to $61,000 if the HPC products are procured from overseas.
New Procurement Subsidy Scheme for Patients with Blood Diseases
In view of providing sustainable financial support to patients, a review has been conducted by The BMDP and a new scheme, the HPC Procurement Subsidy Scheme was introduced on 1st January 2019. Patients (Singaporeans and Permanent Residents) seeking treatment in Singapore are eligible for this subsidy scheme.
There are 3 tiers of the HPC Procurement Subsidy Scheme available for patients.
Tier 1: HPC Procurement Subsidy – A lump sum will be provided to patients to set off against the HPC product cost. This is applicable for patients seeking treatment in both private and public hospitals.
Tier 2: Additional HPC Procurement Subsidy – In addition to Tier 1, patients are entitled to a Tier 2 subsidy, which subsidises up to 65% of the HPC product cost. Tier 2 subsidy is provided according to Ward Classes, i.e. the same basis that governs patient subsidies in public hospitals in Singapore. This is only applicable to patients seeking treatment in public hospitals.
Tier 3: Supplementary HPC Procurement Subsidy – This subsidy is for needy patients staying in subsidised wards and can cover up to 100% of HPC product cost, subject to recommendation put forth by an accredited Medical Social Worker. This is only applicable to patients seeking treatment in public hospitals.
With the HPC Procurement Subsidy Scheme, patients can receive up to 100% subsidy for the procurement of the HPC product. Below are two examples to illustrate the computation of the subsidies provided to patients:
*Subject to a recommendation by an accredited medical social worker.
In addition, The BMDP will also introduce Verification Typing Subsidy to provide full funding of two additional Verification Typing to needy patients staying in Ward Class B2 and C.
The BMDP is committed to ensuring that their patient funding continues to provide lifesaving financial support to patients in Singapore who need financial assistance with the costs associated with their bone marrow/stem cell transplants. More than 70 types of blood diseases, which is not a lifestyle disease and can strike anyone at any time. A designated Patient Subsidy Fund will be set up for this purpose to allay treatment costs.