Move to streamline private hospital charges welcomed

Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) applauds the Ministry of Health for planning to control charges at private hospitals, including doctors’ consultation fees and the number of in-house visits to patients in a day. The reports of recent abuses justify this action.

The Ministry plans to amend Schedule 13 of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Regulations 2006 which is the Fee Schedule. This schedule determines the fees that can be charged by a general practitioner (GP) or a private specialist doctor. This Fee Schedule also includes a wide-ranging list of the charges that can be imposed for various medical procedures.

For the move to be more effective, CAP calls on the Ministry of Health to make it compulsory for the description of medical procedures listed in patients’ bills to match the description in the Fee Schedule. This will make it easier for interested parties to use this Schedule as a reference and to do comparisons.

CAP also calls on the Ministry of Health to make the proposed amendments to the Fee Schedule available for public comment before the draft is finalised.