Materia Medica Malaysiana

November 2, 2007

Panel: Review healthcare pact of firm

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:51 am

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: A committee of doctors from eight private hospitals in the Klang Valley wants the government to review ING Insurance Bhd’s new Healthcare Service Provider Agreement (HSPA).
The Joint Inter-Hospital Healthcare Committee (JIHC) says the new agreement will adversely affect a patient’s access to quality private healthcare.
The HSPA is a commitment between healthcare service providers and ING under its employment benefit scheme. More than one million people are covered under the scheme.
JIHC spokesman and Federation of Private Medical Practitioners Association of Malaysia’s president Dr Steven K.W. Chow said ING recently proposed new terms to private healthcare specialists as part of their exercise to set up a panel network of specialists in the Klang Valley, stipulating the scope of services that could be offered to patients.
He claimed that the new terms were unethical and would limit the patients’ access to healthcare. He said, among others, doctors would not be properly reimbursed for emergency care and critical care outside of office hours, and there would be a limit to the number of chargeable visits allowed for specialists in certain disciplines.
“But the issue goes beyond fees. We want ING to come up with a HSPA that is more patient-centred and less profit-driven,” he said.
In September, specialists and private practitioners received a letter from ING stating the new terms, and saying that those who did not accept by Sept 30 would not be listed on ING’s panel. So far, Pantai Medical Centre and Sunway Hospital have had their services terminated and are no longer on the panel.
“We do not find it proper for any managed care organisation to demand discounts in order for doctors and hospitals to be on their panel,” added Dr Chow.
ING senior vice-president for employee benefits Phoon Yew Sang said the new HSPA would not affect the patients, and any discounts negotiated with the hospitals would be passed back to their customers and not go to ING.
“This has nothing to do with access to quality private healthcare. Hospitals that have given us discounts are as good as those who haven’t. Without discounts, our customers’ maximum coverage limit would be reached more quickly,” Phoon said.
He said members could still go to non-panel hospitals, but there would be no cashless facility and ING would reimburse them later based on what was customary and reasonable.

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