Capping of Private Hospital bills?

The Malaysain Health Ministry wants to introduce a ceiling price system to protect private hospital patients from being saddled with high medical bills.

Its Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the Ministry was in discussions with private hospitals to find ways to widen the existing price control on professional fees to other treatment aspects.

For now, under the 13th schedule, the ministry has set a cap on professional fees as well as consultancy fees, including consultancy during intensive care treatment and for those done by private dental clinics.

However, the Ministry has no control over private hospitals’ charges for admissions, nursing care, lab tests, medicines and disposable equipment.

The Health Minister acknowledged that patients in private hospitals were sometimes unable to estimate costs because they often did not know how long they would need to be warded, and if they suddenly required intensive care, the costs would quickly rise.

One of the methods the Ministry is looking at to address this issue is called bundling, where if implemented, private hospitals will be paid a single payment for all services performed to treat a patient for one specific episode of care – such as a heart surgery.

If there is any extra treatment that involves more in costs, it is a risk the hospitals must take.

Some foreign hospitals have already introduced this system, and if the discussions between the Ministry and the private hospitals here are successful, control on medical costs in this sector that is currently only limited to professional and consultancy fees can be widened, he said.


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