Recognition of Medical Treatment by
Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioners under
the Pneumoconiosis and Mesothelioma (Compensation) Ordinance

Introduction
Amendments to the Pneumoconiosis and Mesothelioma (Compensation) Ordinance1 (Cap. 360) ("the PMCO") made under the Certification for Employee Benefits (Chinese Medicine) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Ordinance 2006 ("the Amendment Ordinance") become effective on 1 September 2008. The objective of the amendments is to recognise the medical treatment given by registered Chinese medicine practitioners for the purpose of entitlement of pneumoconiosis and/or mesothelioma 2 sufferers to benefits under the PMCO.

This brief sets out in simple terms the major amendments to the PMCO. For information on the major provisions of the PMCO, please refer to the leaflet published by the Pneumoconiosis Compensation Fund Board and its website http://pcfb.org.hk/compensate_download.php?lang=en. For full text of the PMCO, please refer to http://www.legislation.gov.hk/eng/home.htm.

[Major Amendments to the PMCO]
The amendments are applicable to the medical treatment and certification given by registered Chinese medicine practitioners to the sufferers of pneumoconiosis and/or mesothelioma on or after 1 September 2008.

1. Medical expenses

  • A person who suffers from pneumoconiosis and/or mesothelioma is allowed to seek medical treatment from registered Chinese medicine practitioners and claim reimbursement of the medical expenses (including fees for consultation, any surgical or therapeutic treatment, and cost of nursing attendance, hospital accommodation as an in-patient, medicines, curative materials and medical dressings) in respect of the medical treatment as is reasonably necessary in connection with the disease(s) suffered by him. Medical expenses, however, do not include the cost of any tonic or substance that is prescribed for the purpose of the maintenance of general health only.

  • The daily maximum of medical expenses payable are as follows:

    In-patient treatment : $200
    Out-patient treatment : $200
    Both in-patient and out-patient treatment on the same day : $280

  • Unless the prescription contains a direction that the medicines are to be dispensed for a stated number of times and the medicines are dispensed in accordance with that direction, the pneumoconiosis and/or mesothelioma sufferer shall not be reimbursed any cost of medicines relating to medicines dispensed pursuant to the same prescription on subsequent occasions.
2. Opinion concerning further medical examination
  • Under the PMCO, a person who suffers from pneumoconiosis and/or mesothelioma may, in every 21 months, request the Pneumoconiosis Medical Board to conduct a further medical examination 3. If the person obtains an opinion from his attending registered Chinese medicine practitioner that his health has deteriorated such that death is likely to occur before the expiry of the prescribed 21-month period, he may request the Pneumoconiosis Medical Board to consider conducting the further medical examination earlier.

[Enquiries]

  • Enquiry Hotline: 2717 1771 (the hotline is handled by "1823")
  • Website of the Labour Department: http://www.labour.gov.hk

Please note that the above information is for reference only. The Amendment Ordinance and the Pneumoconiosis and Mesothelioma (Compensation) Ordinance remain the sole authority for the provisions of the law explained.

Other reference information

[Registered Chinese medicine practitioners]
A registered Chinese medicine practitioner refers to a person who is registered under section 69 or 85 of the Chinese Medicine Ordinance (Cap. 549) and whose name appears on the Register of Chinese Medicine Practitioners.

A person is entitled to be known as "registered Chinese medicine practitioner of the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong" or the abbreviation "registered Chinese medicine practitioner" only if his name appears on the Register.

The Chinese Medicine Council ("the CMC") has uploaded a list of the registered Chinese medicine practitioners onto the homepage of the CMC for public consumption. The website of the CMC is http://www.cmchk.org.hk.

[Code of Practice and Reference Guide for registered CMP]
The CMC has issued a Code of Practice for Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioners in Hong Kong ("the Code") to uphold the professional ethics and set standards for the practice of registered Chinese medicine practitioners. The Code requires registered Chinese medicine practitioners to be professionally responsible to patients and should not issue untruthful or misleading documents. It also lays down requirements on keeping medical records and issuing prescriptions.

[Retailers of Chinese herbal medicines]
Chinese herbal medicines prescribed by a registered Chinese medicine practitioner shall be sold by a retailer of Chinese herbal medicines with license or by a registered Chinese medicine practitioner to a patient under his direct care. The retailer's licenses of Chinese herbal medicines are classified into (i) licensed retailers of Chinese herbal medicines and (ii) holders of Chinese herbal medicine retailers transitional certificates (Transitional Licensing). The lists of licensed retailers are uploaded onto the homepage of the CMC.

1. The PMCO provides for compensation to sufferers of pneumoconiosis and/or mesothelioma or their family members in respect of incapacity or death resulting from the disease(s). The Pneumoconiosis Compensation Fund Board is responsible for determining the amount of compensation payable and making payments in accordance with the Ordinance.
2. According to the PMCO, pneumoconiosis means fibrosis of the lungs due to dust of asbestos or dust of free silica, whereas mesothelioma means a primary malignant neoplasm of the mesothelial tissue due to dust of asbestos or dust containing asbestos. A person may contract both pneumoconiosis and mesothelioma at the same time.
3. According to the PMCO, a person suffering from pneumoconiosis and/or mesothelioma shall be examined by the Pneumoconiosis Medical Board to determine his degree of incapacity resulting from the disease(s). The person may, after 21 months from the date of the last medical examination, request the Pneumoconiosis Medical Board to conduct a further medical examination for the purpose of determining whether there has been any increase in the degree of his incapacity. Under the original provisions, where the person obtains an opinion from his attending registered medical practitioner that his health has deteriorated such that death is likely to occur soon, he may request the Pneumoconiosis Medical Board to consider conducting an early medical examination.