SEREMBAN: Sixty-three of 144 government hospitals nationwide now charge patients admitted in first class between RM60 and RM120 in ward charges alone per day, following a move to reduce medical subsidies.
Previously, these patients paid between RM30 and RM80 for a day’s admission.
A patient who wants an air-conditioned room for himself will now have to fork out RM120 per day in ward charges alone, a 50% increase compared with RM80 previously.
Those who opt to share a room will pay between RM60 and RM90 each depending on the number of occupants.
“The higher rates have been implemented following a move by the Government to increase ward charges as well as for radiotheraphy, oncology, traditional and complementary medicine treatment, tests, X-rays and surgeries by 50%,” said a source.
Those admitted in the second class will have to pay 25% more while those in the third class will continue to enjoy the same minimal rate, which has been in place for the past 35 years.
This means, those seeking treatment in second class wards now pay between RM25 and RM37.50 in ward charges alone.
Previously, the rates were between RM20 and RM30 depending on the hospital.
However, there will be no increase in other medical charges.
“The amount is still a lot lower compared with what foreigners have to fork out,” the source said, adding that foreigners were required to pay between RM80 and RM320 in ward charges per day for first class and between RM60 and RM180 in the second, depending on the hospital.
He said although foreigners now have to pay between RM3,000 and RM11,000 in deposits when warded in the first or second class, locals are only required to pay between RM200 and RM1,100.
“There is no increase in deposits for locals seeking inpatient treatment,” he said.
In December, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said locals will have to pay more when seeking treatment at the first and second class wards in government hospitals.
He said some 32,000 patients seek treatment in the first and second class wards out of the total two million patients in public hospitals nationwide.
The source said the new rates will also be enforced at 17 other government hospitals nationwide gradually.
“The rates will be increased once the first and second class wards at these hospitals are upgraded,” he said, adding that 10 of these hospitals were in Sabah, while there were three in Perak and one each in Johor, Kelantan, Selangor and Negri Sembilan.
Sixty-four other hospitals, with 26 being in Sabah and Sarawak, will not be affected by the move as they only have third class wards. Those in third class pay only RM3 a day in ward charges.
Government servants and their immediate and eligible family members will not be affected by the increases as they are entitled to free medical treatment at government hospitals.