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Monday, June 14, 2010

Private hospitals are a lucrative business


I REFER to the letter by “A concerned doctor”, I have to disagree with him. Professional fees have increased over the years. Thirty years ago an appendectomy costs about RM1,000, but now costs more than RM5,000.

And private hospitals do not query how much the specialists charges. In fact, they encourage them to use their facilities like CT Scan, operation theatres, laboratory, etc. This is because hospitals take about 20% of what the specialists earn.

I wont be surprised if specialists are encouraged to do more procedures thus running up higher bills.

Revamping medical courses to be more clinical in their approach to patients is of no use. When they are in the government hospitals, their approach is more clinical and only relevant investigations are done, but when they go into the private service all of their clinicals are gone. They order all kinds of blood investigations from A to Z and unnecessary CT Scans, MRIs and other procedures.

I hope their approach is not to squeeze how much money from patients and their medical insurance companies. Although there are fee schedules and checks, it is of no use as there are ways to circumvent them. Bear in mind that when the specialist comes to say hello, or goodnight at the wards, their presence are not for free because patients are charged.

Also, when the nurse comes to take your temperature, there is a nursing charge as well.

It would be good to check if your insurance coverage does include nursing service as well.

The Health Ministry should look into reviewing the fee schedule and setting up an independent committee to look into malpractices and overcharging by hospitals.

Consumer Doctor,

Kuala Lumpur

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