HK Government launches Chronic Disease Co-Care Pilot Scheme to promote early prevention and management

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25th September 2023 – (Hong Kong) The Hong Kong Health Bureau has announced the details of the upcoming Chronic Disease Co-Care Pilot Scheme (CDCC Pilot Scheme), scheduled to be launched in mid-November. The scheme aims to encourage early prevention and management of chronic diseases by providing subsidies to eligible individuals for screening and long-term care by their chosen family doctor.

According to the Population Health Survey 2020-22 conducted by the Department of Health, approximately 17 percent of the population aged 45 to 84 in Hong Kong have underlying conditions of either diabetes mellitus (DM) or hypertension (HT). In response, the government has initiated the CDCC Pilot Scheme to address these health concerns. All Hong Kong residents aged 45 or above with no known medical history of DM or HT are eligible to participate. They can undergo screening for DM and HT, attend doctor consultations, receive laboratory investigations in private healthcare facilities, and, if required, receive prescribed medication, follow-up care at nurse clinics, and allied health services.

Under the CDCC Pilot Scheme, a co-payment model will be implemented. The government will provide subsidies during the screening and treatment phases, while participants will be responsible for a certain co-payment fee, emphasizing the importance of personal health responsibility.

Enrollment in the scheme will begin at the 18 District Health Centres (DHCs) and DHC Expresses (DHCEs), which will serve as the initial contact point. After registration as a DHC/DHCE member and consent to enrol in the Electronic Health Record Sharing System (eHealth), individuals will be paired with a family doctor. The family doctor will provide medical consultations, arrange laboratory investigations, and provide diagnosis and advice. During the screening phase, the government will fully cover the laboratory investigation fees and provide a subsidy of HK$196 for the consultation fee, while participants will need to pay a designated co-payment fee of HK$120.

Participants who are diagnosed as not having DM or HT will receive assistance from the DHC/DHCEs in setting health management goals and adopting a healthier lifestyle. Those diagnosed with prediabetes, DM, or HT will receive long-term follow-up care from their selected family doctor. Participants with prediabetes are entitled to a maximum of four subsidised consultation visits per year, while those with DM or HT are entitled to a maximum of six subsidised consultation visits per year. The government will provide a subsidy of HK$166 per visit during the treatment phase, and the co-payment fee will be determined by the family doctors, with the recommended fee being HK$150 per consultation.

The government has compiled a list of basic-tier drugs for use under the CDCC Pilot Scheme. Participants prescribed with drugs from this list will not be required to pay for the medication. The list currently includes over 40 items of basic-tier drugs, covering medications for regulating blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and treating episodic illnesses. The list will be regularly reviewed to meet the participants’ needs.

To enhance transparency, the government will provide details of the co-payment fees on the dedicated website of the CDCC Pilot Scheme. Persons aged 65 or above can use Elderly Health Care Vouchers to settle the co-payment fees.

Additionally, the CDCC Pilot Scheme establishes a two-way referral mechanism with the Hospital Authority (HA). Participants with clinical needs beyond the scope of their family doctor’s care will be referred to designated Medicine Specialist Outpatient Clinics (SOPC) of the HA for specialist medical consultations. After receiving clinical advice, participants will continue their follow-up care with their family doctor.

The scheme also includes an incentive mechanism for participants and family doctors. Participants who achieve specific health incentive targets will receive a reduction of up to HK$150 for their first subsidised consultation in the following year. Family doctors will receive incentive payments if 70 percent of the participants under their care achieve the health incentive targets.

The CDCC Pilot Scheme represents a significant step towards strengthening Hong Kong’s primary healthcare system and promoting preventive care. The government has received positive response from the medical sector, with over 200 doctors registering to participate within a month. Efforts will continue to recruit more family doctors and provide them with necessary training to ensure high-quality care.

Detailed information about the scheme can be found on the dedicated website of the CDCC Pilot Scheme, and inquiries can be made through the scheme’s hotline. The government remains committed to improving healthcare services and encouraging citizens to prioritise preventive care for a healthier future.