PETALING JAYA: The Health Ministry has clarified that the recent increase in private medical fees by around 14% refers to procedural fees, and not consultation fees.
The ministry’s clarification came in the form of a statement posted on the Facebook page of health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
Several media outlets yesterday reported Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam as saying that the increase in private healthcare fees had been capped at 14.4%, less than half the amount sought by the Malaysian Medical Association, which the ministry said was at 30%.
This new fee structure is an amendment to the 13th Schedule of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services (Private Hospitals and Other Private Healthcare Facilities) Regulations 2006.
Dr Noor Hisham said that work behind the revision of the fees started in 2010, taking into account the overall inflation rate and the consumer price index specifically for healthcare as measured from 2002 to 2010.
He added that the quantum of increase in consultation fees was arrived at after much deliberation.
The approval for the two to three-fold increase in GP consultation fees took into account variations in duration, the complexity of the case, the doctor’s level of expertise, as well as the facility rental costs at different locations, said Dr Noor Hisham.
He added that the ceiling rates specified in the schedule were meant to prevent overcharging by private practitioners, and was based on the Regulations of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998, which stipulates that patients have the right to be informed of the estimated charges before he or she proceeds with the treatment or consultation.
On Monday, an online news portal highlighted that the price revisions under the Regulations had been implemented in a non-transparent manner.
The amendment to the treatment and consultation charges were contained in the 13th Schedule that was published in the Federal Gazette on Dec 16 last year.
It also covers private dental practitioners.