D-G: Incomplete welfare forms causing delays

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 26 Jun 2003

KUALA LUMPUR: The failure to fully complete National Health Welfare Fund application forms has delayed the process of verification and disbursement of money to needy patients, said Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Mohamad Taha Arif. 

He said applicants were required to complete two forms, detailing their medical history, funds required and social economic background. 

“Some of the forms received did not even carry the full name of the patient, telephone number, or the treatment needed, making it difficult to process the applications. 

“The health ministry has to trace the applicants with incomplete forms and try to obtain more information, thus delaying the process. 

“In fact, if the forms are properly filled up, the ministry can set the ball rolling within 24 hours, such as verifying the information furnished, checking with local hospitals that can provide the treatment needed and arranging for fund transfer to the designated hospitals.  

“Between last September and early June this year, a total of 156 applications were received and 111 had been processed while another 29 are still pending because of the need for more information from the applicants,” he said yesterday. 

Apart from personal data, income, and financial commitments, the applicants have to list down their social economic conditions, such as the type and make of house they have, whether it was inherited, owned, rented or provided and if it is made of wood or concrete. 

Other parameters include whether the patient enjoys facilities such as having a telephone line, refrigerator, television set, electricity supply and tap water. 

Dr Mohamad Taha refuted claims by Umno Youth Public Complaints Bureau head Datuk Subahan Kamal that the fund has failed to serve its purpose and many patients would rather approach the media for help. 

He detailed seven delayed cases brought up by Subahan in the press last week that were not accompanied by application forms, doctor’s letter and social economic report. 

Of the applicants, two had died, three cases were found not to require financial aid upon verification as the medical cost had been waived by hospitals or taken care of by other welfare schemes. 

As for the remaining two cases, one of the applicants has not responded to the ministry’s query for more details while the other, a kidney patient, has been put under the “Malaysian Organ Sharing System” for further treatment. 

To date, the National Health Welfare Fund has disbursed RM316,305.10 to 11 deserving patients, including a patient who sought treatment in Australia for face deformity. 

Dr Mohamad Taha said the relatively low amount paid out was partly due to the availability of fees waivers and other welfare schemes at government hospitals and the National Heart Institute. 

“In fact the Government spent RM118mil last year to sponsor the medical treatment of poor families and Government servants,” he added.  

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