Hike in Private Practitioners' fees: 14.4%

Malaysians will have to pay more to visit private practitioners from 6th March 2014 under a 14.4% across-the-board hike.

The minimum consultation fee will increase from RM10 to RM11.40 and the maximum from RM35 to RM40.05. However, doctors are free to charge any amount they wish, even billing below the RM10, as long as they do not exceed the ceiling rate. Specialists will also be able to charge higher rates under the approved fee schedule.

It is understood that the ministry may review the fee schedule after April 1 next year when the GST comes into force. Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the hike is the first in 12 years as the last revision was in 2002.

"This decision was made after consulting various ministries and stakeholders, and the fee revision was approved by the Cabinet on Oct 12, 2012," he said today, adding that it was done under an amendment to the 13th Schedule of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services (Private Hospitals and Other Private Healthcare Facilities) Regulations 2006.

Speaking to reporters after a post-Cabinet meeting, he said that the ministry felt the increase is appropriate as healthcare costs had escalated over the years.

Dr Subramaniam said the country's healthcare is more affordable than its counterpart in the region and with the overall safety, political stability, hospitality and attractive packages reinforced to make Malaysia a medical hub in the region.

He also pointed out that the market forces are expected to ultimately determine the fees.

Patients can request for itemised bill if from private practitioners if they want to know how much they have been charged for consultation and procedures.
theSUN 06-02-2014

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