THE Federation of Private Medical Practitioners’ Associations Malaysia (FPMPAM) would like to share the press statement released in March 2014 by the director-general of Health, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, on the issue of general practitioners’ fees:
“In general, the average increase of 14.4% in professional fees covers mainly the procedural and performance fees. The revision of these fees which started in the year 2010 have taken into account the overall inflation rates and was based on the consumer price index specifically for healthcare for the year 2002 to 2010.
“It was noted that consultation fee was increased from a range of RM10-RM35 to a new range of RM30-RM125 for the General Practitioners. It was agreed after much deliberation on the quantum imposed in relation to the services provided and taking into account the rental cost at different locations of the facilities that varies greatly. In addition the duration of consultation may range from 5 mins to an hour or so, depending on cases and complexity, coupled with the variable level of expertise, competency and different types of clinical examination. Allowance was given to cap the upper or maximum range one can be charged.”
This confirms that the GPs are not asking for a new fee.
The GP fees have indeed been finalised since 2010 and gazetted in 2013 as the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services (Private Hospitals and Other Private Healthcare Facilities) (Amendment) Order 2013 and released into the public domain in 2014.
It is clear that the failure to include the approved GP Fee amendment in Schedule 7 of the said Amendment Order 2013 was a serious slip-up on the part of the Health Ministry at that time.
We urge the current Health Minister to do something to prevent this issue from dragging on any further and to take immediate remedial action to rectify the anomaly.
For the past five years, GPs have been underpaid by managed care organisations (MCOs), some for as low as RM10 per patient for their first visit.
These MCOs have taken advantage of the anomaly by insisting on payment as per the old schedule, despite the directive from the Health Ministry in 2016 stating that contracts between doctors and MCOs are deemed illegal unless the contracted professional fee is within the approved fee schedule.
The FPMPAM urges all the GPs affected to pursue legal action to reclaim what should be rightly due to them.
The Federation will also support a nationwide boycott of MCOs being initiated by aggrieved doctors, who are complaining that MCOs have taken advantage of the anomaly to short-change doctors and their patients.
However, the Federation is cognisant of the difficult socio-economic situation prevailing in the country, hence its members will continue to give voluntary discounts on both consultation fees and medications for needy out-of-pocket patients and those in the B40 category.
DR STEVEN KW CHOW
Federation of Private Medical Practitioners’ Associations Malaysia