Patients brace for a 'deeper cut' over fees for specialist procedures

Patients brace for a 'deeper cut' over fees for specialist procedures

PETALING JAYA - Patients will have to brace themselves for a "deeper cut" if a proposal to increase fees for specialist procedures is adopted by the government.

Association of Third Party Medical Claims Administrators Malaysia (TPA) vice-president Paul Cheok said the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), in asking for a 30 per cent increase in consultation charges last month, had also proposed staggering increases in charges for specialist procedures.

TPA members, who form part of the country's managed care organisations, provide administrative and medical claim processing services for insurance companies and more than 1,000 employers, mostly corporations.

"We are not against the approved 14.5 per cent hike in consultation fees agreed on by the Health Ministry, but the MMA's proposal for an increase in surgical procedures and anaesthetist fees must not be allowed. Patient volume has increased over the years, so based on the current rates, specialists are already fairly compensated," he said.

"Specialists think private hospitals make a lot of money, but the reverse is true."

TPA estimates that there are about 800 to 1,000 procedures listed in the 5th Edition of the MMA Fee Schedule.

Cheok said the MMA must also justify why certain procedures have been upgraded to a higher surgical fee category.

"Some procedures which were previously categorised as minor, have been pushed into the 'major category'.

"Coupled with the new rates, this will lead to patients paying more than 200 per cent of current charges.

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