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Doc winding down practice to pursue medical tourism in Japan

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 22 Jun 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: A general practitioner who is in the midst of winding down his practice at Taman Sri Sentosa along Old Klang Road plans to venture into medical tourism in Japan.

Sole proprietor Dr Jim Loi, 49, said he will be closing his clinic here in two years.

“No choice. It has been difficult to sustain it,” he said of his clinic in a rented shoplot that he has operated for the last 17 years.

Dr Loi said he used to get 100 patients a day before 2014, but these days, he usually sees only 15 to 20 patients.

From a nett monthly profit ranging from RM18,000 to 20,000 in 2014, Dr Loi now averages RM7,000 to RM10,000.

He said the clinic next to his had also folded.

He said the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax beginning April 2015 also did not help.

With the purchasing power of Malaysians dropping, many had asked him to write referral letters for them to go to public health facilities, he said.

Dr Loi added that third party administrators (TPAs) also posed a challenge as not only do they cap doctors’ fees, they also do not dispense payments promptly, with some doctors having to wait six months, and sometimes up to a year, to get their money.

“Most gave up because of frustrations,” he said, adding that the sociopolitical climate of the country was also “discouraging”.

Dr Loi is in the process of opening a homestay in Kyoto to promote medical tourism, while some of his general practitioner friends had gone overseas to further their studies and work in hospitals there.