SETTING up and running a non-profit charitable hospital is definitely a very tough task, said Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.
A well-concerted effort and strong commitment are needed to implement short and long-term strategies to keep the hospital self-sustaining.
The new Kek Lok Si Charitable Medical Centre (KLSCMC) in Ayer Itam is one such hospital that depends largely on donations.
“This private hospital does not charge nursing procedure fees for its in-patients.
“Its charges will also be lower than those of other non-profit hospitals.
“A major challenge is to procure sufficient financial backing to meet operation costs as well as daily expenses.
“I urge all non-governmental organisations, the Penang Chinese Town Hall and the Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce as well as multinational companies to support this hospital, ” he said in his speech after visiting the medical centre on Friday.
Chow said the state understood the needs of KLSCMC and therefore, had provided RM200,000 to assist the medical centre.
“KLSCMC is a 50-bed hospital with seven resident consultants, two medical officers, two sessional consultants and one visiting consultant.
“It is equipped with state-of-the-art medical facilities and its 130 staff members are ready to serve once approval from the Private Medical Practice Control Section of the state Health Department is obtained, ” he said.
Chow is happy that KLSCMC is open to all Malaysians regardless of race and religion.
KLSCMC board member and medical superintendent Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan said the medical centre is expected to be fully operational next month.
“The hospital’s medical fees will be the lowest in the state.
“The hospital relies fully on public donations and accepts funds from the public and organisations. All donations above RM50 are tax-exempted.
“We also aim to get an oncologist on board to treat cancer patients in the future.”
Dr Teng, however, said the hospital would not be accepting Covid-19 patients but would conduct swab tests on those who display signs and symptoms of infection.
The KLSCMC is a five-storey building with a built-up area of 68,000sq ft.
Also present were state tourism and creative economy committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin, Bukit Bendera MP Wong Hon Wai, Ayer Itam assemblyman Joseph Ng, KLSCMC board member and project lead Datuk Seri Steven Ooi, KLSCMC board chairman Datuk Seri Venerable Seck Jit Heng, hospital chief operating officer Lai Yeu Kong and matron Cheah Lew Kin along with governance and welfare committee members Datuk Hwang Thean Long and Khoo Boo Leong.