Materia Medica Malaysiana

December 6, 2007

Be true to patients, not insurers

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:44 am

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: Duty before profit.
This is the advice from Malaysian Medical Association president Datuk Dr Khoo Kah Lin to doctors.
He said they should be guided by clinical expertise and not insurance companies.
“Although the insurance coverage depends on how much premium you pay, the companies should not restrict doctors from conducting tests they think are necessary for patients.
“Doctors know what’s best for their patients,” he said.
Life Insurance Association of Malaysia president Sonny Tan, however, denied that insurance companies were restricting coverage to only certain cases and tests.
“Insurance companies don’t own the hospitals. We can’t dictate what doctors should or shouldn’t do,” he said.
Tan added that doctors should not concentrate on how much money their patients were paying to determine what kind of treatment should be given to them.
“If you go to private hospitals, the first thing they will ask is ‘do you have insurance coverage?’. This is a sad thing,” he said.
He added most insurance companies were not making money from healthcare as the cost of private healthcare increased every year.
“Medical cost increases by about 13 per cent a year. But we can’t easily raise premiums as it will affect our customers,” he said.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek yesterday highlighted the issue of insurance companies restricting coverage to only certain cases and tests conducted by doctors.
He had also expressed concern over exorbitant rates charged by private hospitals, saying “the rates are going up by the day and are profit-driven”.
Dr Chua had said that the government was concerned about the steep charges and the matter had been discussed by the cabinet.
Malaysian Medical Council president Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said the council had received complaints on hospitals billing patients exorbitantly.

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