PETALING JAYA: More than 800 non-Covid-19 patients are set to be moved out of government hospitals into private medical centres over the next two days in a bid to free up space for Covid-19 patients in public healthcare.
Speaking to FMT, Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) president Dr Kuljit Singh said more than 38 private hospitals in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan will be taking part in the programme which started last night.
He noted that while the health ministry and private hospitals have never undertaken a task of this magnitude before, the process of transferring the patients has been “seamless” thus far.
“We are providing over 800 beds … and our projection is that the transfers will be completed in one or two days,” he said.
“There are now thousands of Covid-19 patients in emergency rooms and at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) who need care, and the best solution is for them to get treatment in government hospitals while we clear government hospitals (and send patients to private hospitals).”
While a number of elective surgeries and procedures in public hospitals within the Klang Valley have been referred to private hospitals, Kuljit said they are on a case-by-case basis and not on a scale comparable to the current programme.
Kuljit was commenting on a letter addressed to him by health ministry secretary-general Mohd Shafiq Abdullah yesterday which directed all patients in Klang Valley public hospitals, who are not being treated for Covid-19, to be transferred to private hospitals immediately.
A report by Malaysiakini stated that the cost of treatment for patients transferred to private hospitals will be borne by the government up to a certain limit, and all transferred patients must receive due treatment with costs as stated in the guideline.
The ceiling cost per patient is for the lowest available charge for beds available in the ward, RM45,000 for surgery costs, RM25,000 for non-surgery costs and RM5,000 for follow-up costs.
Kuljit said private hospitals were happy to have been given the opportunity to help ease the load of government hospitals and stressed that “cost was not really an issue”, adding that private hospitals were willing to provide discounts if needed.
“We are not doing this for profits. We just want to cover our own costs,” he said.
“This is the time we really need to help because we want to get things back to normal.”
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said last week that the government would spend an additional RM1.1 billion to increase healthcare capacity in the Klang Valley, which has been the epicentre of the latest rise in Covid-19 cases.
The health ministry also recently announced it would mobilise 6,500 healthcare workers from other states and buy more supplies for public hospitals to deal with the increased Covid-19 cases in the Klang Valley.