Monday, November 11, 2013

Doc: NFK’s surplus just isn’t enough to cope

PETALING JAYA: A nephrologist who volunteers at a haemodialysis centre has refuted claims that RM5mil is a huge surplus for the National Kidney Foundation (NKF).
Dr Liew Boon Seng, who has been providing his service to two NGO haemodialysis centres in Sabah, said the surplus reserve was not much in view of the foundation’s 1,557 patients.
He said if NKF picked up the Government’s tab of RM50 subsidy per session and 13 sessions per month for each of the 200 patients still waiting for the subsidy approvals, it would cost it RM1.56mil a year, not including the cost of Erythropoietin injection.
“How long should NKF fill the void while waiting for subsidy approvals? What if the approvals never come or the applications are rejected?”
Dr Liew was responding to The Star’s report on Friday where a life member of NKF had pointed out that the foundation had surplus income of RM5.644mil as of January last year and hence, should pick up the haemodialysis tab for their poor patients, even if the Health Ministry had not approved the subsidies.
This follows The Star’s front page report Thursday highlighting the plight of haemodialysis patients in NGO-run centres who had not received approvals for government subsidy.
The problem became acute since mid-last year and approvals became negligible this year. Some applications have yet to be approved since 2011.
On NKF’s accumulated savings, he said that NGO centres also faced increasing number of patients and to set up 20-chair hemodialysis centre in any cities would cost up to RM4mil.
Meanwhile, in response to the Ministry’s reply to the front page story that it had not stopped funding for the poor in NGO-run centres, MAA Medicare Kidney Charity Fund senior vice-president Aliyah Karen said it should respond to patients’ application forms quickly.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham said rejected and pending haemodialysis subsidy applications were mainly due to incomplete supporting documents relating to socio-economic status or that the NGO or private centre had not been approved by the ministry.

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