Prices For Visiting Private Clinics In Malaysia May Triple In 2019. Here's Why
Private doctor consultation fees may be increased next year as proposed by the Health Ministry at Putrajaya yesterday, 27 August
Deputy Health director-general Datuk Dr Azman Abu Bakar said the proposed revision of fees was long overdue since the 2006 revision
"The more complex one's illness, the higher the consultation charge will be. The ceiling price for the consultation charge is RM125," he added.
The increase was discussed with stakeholders, private clinic practitioners, non-governmental organisations, and consumer groups to ensure that the revision was done fairly, Azman said after the session yesterday.
The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (FOMCA) supported the price review but warned against raising it too high
FOMCA's Deputy president Mohd Yusof Abdul Rahman was quoted as saying by New Straits Times that the price increase was needed as medicine costs are too high for RM10 to RM35 consultation fees.
"These days, medicines alone can come up to more than RM100, depending on whether it's generic or branded," he said.
He added that a 30% to 50% hike in consultation fees was reasonable, but anything more may be too pricey for patients.
The Deputy president also said that the fees should be in line with private clinics' demographics, as rural residents may not be able to afford it
"This proposal must be studied carefully and only implemented because we do not want patients who cannot afford the fees to resort to other methods, such a traditional or home remedies. Or even worse, not seek medical help at all," he added, according to the report.
Even in urban areas, paying more than RM80 to see a doctor can be a burden for patients, Yusof said.
Keeping costs as low as possible may eventually reduce the quality of health care, revealed general practitioner Dr Andrew Yap
For example, a large company may request for a third-party administrator (TPA) to find clinics for their staff but to keep costs to a minimum amount, Yap shared with SAYS.
"The TPA may then go to a clinic and say, 'I want you to charge a maximum of RM15 for consultation. I don't care how long it takes or how complex the case is. If you are willing, then let’s get you on board so you can see the company's patients. If you are not willing, then too bad.'"
Yap, who runs The Red Clinic in Petaling Jaya, added that as a result, it allows the company and a TPA to reduce the quality of healthcare.
"If I can only charge RM15 per patient, I will need more patients (in order) to survive. Therefore, I need to reduce my time with the patient, spend less time, and so on."
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