Monday, May 12, 2014

Docs cry foul over low foreign worker health check fees

PETALING JAYA: Doctors are crying foul over the low fees they are paid for the health status examination of foreign workers while Fomema (an agency to manage and operate a mandatory foreign worker health screening system in Peninsular Malaysia) rake in huge profits.
Malaysian Medical Association president Datuk Dr N.K.S Tharmaseelan said for the past 14 years, doctors have only been paid RM60 for medical examinations and RM25 for X-rays.
"When doctors ask for an increase, they blame the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) for not agreeing to it while EPU says otherwise," he said in a statement.
Tharmaseelan said to cough up a little extra from Fomema's massive coffers does not need the approval of the government which the latter is blaming.
"With the fees collected, Fomema can certainly afford to pay doctors more. Only the coffers of Fomema has multiplied. They do little but reap in millions," he claimed.
He pointed out that doctors now have to provide a more comprehensive medical examination including a newly-introduced psychiatric assessment of foreign workers.
"All this is done while being paid the same old fees," he added.
He said for a less detailed doctors' examination on foreign students, the fees charged by the Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS) is RM120.00.
"This does not encompass detailed examinations as required for examining foreign workers and yet they are paid more," said Tharmaseelan.
He also pointed out that the Health Ministry had informed that digitalisation of X-rays is not mandatory but Fomema disagrees.
"Fomema has made it difficult for doctors who send X-rays by courier saying that they go missing and have advised them to go digital and pay the transmission fee of RM4 per transmission. A million X-rays a year brings in RM4 million without any effort by Fomema," he added.
Tharmaseelan said they are not against digitalisation of X-rays but it cannot be done with the fees being now offered to doctors .
"Doctors will suffer a loss if the present fee is not increased by Fomema," he said.
He pointed out that Fomema removes doctors from its panel without valid reasons while some foreign workers are forced to do X-rays or examinations only at certain clinics.

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