PETALING JAYA: Khazanah Nasional Bhd has launched Malaysia’s first 96-bedded rehab hospital in the heart of Petaling Jaya, Selangor, called the Regen Rehabilitation Hospital.
The hospital is owned by Khazanah (60%) and New York Stock Exchange-listed Select Medical Holdings Corp (40%) that is parked under ReGen Rehabilitation International Sdn Bhd with an initial investment of RM100mil.
It provides crucial tertiary treatment not presently covered in acute care hospitals for patients such as those who are bedridden or who have had a stroke to enable them to regain their mobility.
Regen Rehab’s CEO Sue Lee told StarBiz that the hospital expects to record a positive earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation in two years and expects to break even in 4½ to five years.
Both Lee and Select Medical’s executive chairman Robert Ortenzio said there are no plans to park this venture under another Khazanah-led hospital group, IHH HEALTHCARE BHD.
Lee said she believes that this rehab hospital meets a largely unmet demand in the Malaysian tertiary healthcare system presently and is confident insurers would eventually start to cover such treatments in the present healthcare insurance schemes.
“There is no availability of rehab hospitals like us. Many people cannot differentiate the different types of hospitals unlike in the United States where there are many types of hospitals in tertiary care.
“Over here, we only have acute hospitals (for example Gleneagles or Pantai Hospital) and after that, it is only nursing homes. There is a big gap here in Malaysia,” Lee said.
“Whereas in the US, they have acute hospitals, step-down unit hospitals, long-term acute care hospitals, in-patient post-acute care hospitals and then only nursing homes.
“There are actually many other types of hospitals to meet the needs of patients other than just acute care which we are used to here in Malaysia,” she added.
Regen Rehab said it is in talks with insurers at the moment to provide such coverage for policy holders for admission into such types of hospitals.
“Outpatient care is covered by healthcare insurance for physiotherapy and occupational therapy and this is not an issue. The only part that healthcare policies do not cover now is post-acute rehab admissions.
“But having said that, we have had promising discussions with the big insurers here to do a pilot project.
“We can then demonstrate the quality of patient outcomes received here also to demonstrate how efficient we are in managing medical costs,” she said.
Pertaining to this matter, Ortenzio said rehab treatment is not well known or well accepted yet in Malaysia and that the level of awareness on rehab treatment is around where America’s awareness was some 15-20 years back.
“This standard of care will eventually be demanded by patients who have had a stroke or those who have had spinal cord, head injuries or even cancer. This group of people will really demand this level of care for good outcomes,” Ortenzio said.