Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Subra: Medical fee cap to protect public

PUTRAJAYA: The fee hike for private healthcare costs is done in order to protect public interest, Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam said today.
He said the fee amendments under the 13th Schedule of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services (Privates Hospitals and Other Private Health Facilities) Regulations 2006 would make private healthcare providers compete among themselves to provide better services.
“Under the revised fee, action can be taken against doctors who charge more than what is proposed in the schedule,” he said, adding the ministry was instructed to review the prices in 2010.
Subramaniam added that the 14% rate hike for private medical and dental practitioners was done after studying the consumer price index (CPI) for healthcare between 2002 and 2010.
“In my experience, the public will avoid any clinics which charge high fees. Thus, I believe the private hospital would not impose the maximum charges,” he said.
The revision included a spike in consultation charges from between RM10 and RM35 to RM30 and RM125 for general practitioners, and from between RM30 and RM125 to RM80 and RM235 for specialist doctors.
Fees for medical procedures have soared between 14% and 18%.
Dr Subramaniam said the Health Ministry reviewed the 13th schedule on Sept 22, 2010.
Fees for consultation and medical procedures have not been revised since 2002 and is considered low compared to other nations.
“Consultations and meetings were held. We established two committees and a working group. We then forwarded the proposal to the cabinet which approved the amendment to the 13th schedule on Oct 12, 2012,” he added.
The amended schedule fee structure, was presented to the Attorney-General’s chambers on April 29, 2013 and gazetted on Dec 16 after the cabinet’s approval.
The minister also assured Malaysians that the fee structure would not be amended again, at least for another three to four years.
“It was just gazetted last year. The people need not to worry about the increase of the fees after this,” he added.

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