Friday, June 04, 2010


This piece was written in response to a newsreader's comments that came out in the letters to the editor in NST on 2nd June 2010. It was send to the editor of NST today for his attention.

Dear Sir,

The Federation of Private Medical Practitioners’ Associations, Malaysia (FPMPAM) support the call by TSK calling on the government to monitor private hospitals (NST on-line 2.6.2010)

What TSK has written must be considered seriously. It is an important issue that needs to be addressed urgently. Nowadays, private hospital bills reaching RM100K is not a rarity anymore. FPMPAM find this trend extremely alarming.Th e public is of the perception that high hospital bills is a result of hefty doctors’ fees. This is not true. It should be noted that the average doctor’s professional fees forms about 10-15% of the overall private hospital bill.

The provisions of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998 and Regulations 2006, has NO provisions to regulate hospital bills. It regulates only the professional fees for doctors. Any doctor who cheats or overcharges should be reported the Ministry of Health for action. There are specific provisions in law and the Code of Professional Conduct of the Malaysian Medical Council that can deal with this.

However, as there is NO prescribed schedule for private hospital fees, private hospitals are free to charge as they see fit. Ultimately, they answer only to their shareholders.

The FPMPAM have made regular representation to the Ministry of Health on this matter. The usual response is that it is not possible to control hospital fees, as there were different classes of hospitals providing different class of services i.e. 3-star to 6-star hospitals.. The situation in some hospitals have reached to a point where doctors themselves find it hard to advise patient on the cost of hospitalization. Often, the hospital bills end up way above what was originally estimated and the doctor is accused of over-charging.

Now that most of the major private hospital chains are owned and operated by GLCs, we wonder whether the MOH will loose the political will to take appropriate action.
We urge the patients and the public to speak out against this disturbing trend. We call upon elected leaders and members of public office should take heed and institute appropriate measures to protect the patients and the public.

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