PETALING JAYA, JULY 29: The Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) has suggested that the finance ministry allocate funds to be used for the treatment of government patients at private hospitals.
Speaking to FMT, APHM president Dr Kuljit Singh said the topic was discussed at a meeting with Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz last week, which was also attended by Malaysian Healthcare Travel Council CEO Sherene Azli and a representative from the health ministry.
“The waiting list is very long for government patients and there are many patients requiring imaging, treatment and other procedures,” Kuljit said.
“The normal healthcare budget cannot be directly used for this purpose. So we suggested that the finance ministry allocate a special budget for these patients so they can get treatment early at private facilities.”
Kuljit was last week re-elected as APHM president, and the new board has said the association was seeking further engagement with government stakeholders in private-public partnerships on the sharing of resources.
During the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March, APHM said it could take in non-Covid-19 patients for treatment if the health ministry needed help during the peak of the pandemic. It also offered the use of 51 ventilators.
Kuljit said the government had so far been sending patients for treatment at private facilities only on a case-by-case basis and in “special emergency circumstances”.
“The doctors in public hospitals will seek the permission of the hospital director, who will then expedite the transfer, but there has to be very special reasons and justifications.”
Kuljit said private facilities would be willing to provide discounts based on volume.
But he said even if the government was charged the full rate at private facilities, it would still be cheaper than building its own facilities.
“It’s time for us to seriously sit down and think things through,” he added.