Discriminatory charges, restrictions for foreign patients in government hospitals

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I was horrified to read that the Health Ministry director-general has reportedly stated that foreigners who are outpatients will not be allowed to obtain medicines from government hosital pharmacies beyond five days of outpatient treatment.

Why the discrimination against migrant workers? Aren’t they human beings too? Don’t they deserve to receive equal treatment in government hospitals?

It is already discriminatory enough that hospital charges for foreigners are higher than what locals have to pay. And now they want to restrict medicines for foreigners?

Note that foreigners are already paying 15 times the out patient rate paid by Malaysian citizens. That is bad enough.

For the first visit at a government specialist clinic, it is free or RM30 for Malaysians while foreigners have to pay RM60!

Why this discrimination? Some might argue that Malaysians are paying income tax. Well most Malaysians are exempted from income tax. Most foreign workers, on the other hand, have to pay foreign worker levies to the government.

Won’t foreigners especially lowly paid migrant workers avoid seeking treatment in hospitals? What if they have serious or contagious diseases and can’t afford the treatment?

This is not conducive towards creating a healthy workforce.

These are the outpatient rates as listed in the Hospital KL website:

I. OUTPATIENT DEPARTMENT

Out patient are patients who get their treatment from the Outpatient department or Specialists clinics.

Charges For Malaysian citizen

Out Patient Department: RM 1.00

Specialist Clinic:
1. Referred by Government Medical Officer

Free for first visit.
RM 5.00 for subsequent visit excluding charges for investigation
Investigations are charged according to first class rate.

2. Referred by Private Practitioner

RM 30.00 for first visit
RM5.00 for subsequent visit excluding investigation charges
Investigations are charged according to first class rate.

3. Clinic visit after discharged from ward.

RM 5.00 for every visit including investigations charges

Charges For Non-Citizen

Out-patient Department : RM 15.00

Specialist clinic:

1. Referred by Government Medical Officer

RM 60.00 for first visit.
RM 10.00 for subsequent visit excluding charges for investigation
Investigations will be charged according to first class rate.

2. Referred by Private Practitioner

Same as above

3. Clinic visit after discharged from ward.

RM 10.00 for all visit excluding charges for investigations
Investigation will be charged according to first class rate.

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Sunny Ali

I have been researching on this topic as we facing some serious issues right now. We employ about 10+ foreigners in our IT Technology firm. We have staff from Pakistan and Philippines on top of our local Malaysian staff. I spoke to many insurance companies about getting corporate insurance package for all our staff. The sad part is insurance companies usually decline when they go through foreign staff. I am shocked to see this level of racism from private insurance firms. I have heard of SKHPPA, however the insurance coverage designed by them is more suitable for laborers. The staff… Read more »

Nabila Sara

Foreign workers are covered by SHKPPA, a medical insurance scheme made compulsory by the gov. The policy clearly stipulates that they can only seek medical treatment from a non-corporatised government hospital, with coverage amounting to RM60 per day for room & board, including hospital supplies & services (this covers the medications I suppose). @ Kevin: Therefore, it is only fair for foreign workers to be afforded equal treatment free of charge in public hospitals. By virtue of their medical insurance, it can also be argued that foreign workers have more rights to access medical services compared to some Malaysian nationals… Read more »

David Christopher

Please enlighten me.
We pay taxes and our tax monies to subsidies the healthcare cost at the government hospital. No one gets a freebie since they are already paying taxes.
Likewise, foreign worker also pay taxes (be it levy or income tax). Presumable, a fraction of this value is earmarked for health care needs of these people.
If this is correct, it seems perfectly fair that the foreign worker get treated exactly the same as the Malaysia local and at the same price rates.
Where have I gone wrong in my reasoning? Serious question. Not being sarcastic.

OWC

A new health threat is looming: MERS-COV!

The pilgrims to middle-east may bring it to our shore.

kleesant

Discrimination only in medicine? Why were these foreigners brought in at all? To exploit them without proper work safety or benefits including safety equipment, pay, housing, utilities, medical, leave. The medical check done on them when they arrive has been shown to be fake in some cases. Some of them are brutalised through non-payment, repeated extortion or barbaric detention. This turns some honest workers into violent criminals. The country has also attracted thugs, conmen and extremists from every part of the world. Due to the exploitation, Malaysians lose scope for higher pay, jobs, public safety (due to crime) and severe… Read more »

Don Anamalai

Should make the employers of these foreign workers to fork out more money for the welfare of these workers.

Phua Kai Lit

Foreigners who are not treated can and will spread diseases such as TB to the Malaysian population. The process of checking the health of foreign workers before they come in is faulty because of corruption and this is a public health challenge for Malaysia.

Malaysia practically eliminated diseases such as filariasis (elephantiasis) in the past. But nowadays, we have infected foreign workers.

By the way, cost recovery from “user charges” is only 5% of the total revenue of the
MOH/KKM. (Perhaps the recent figure is higher).

bigjoe99

The fact is our healthcare financing is all messed-up. It has to be heavily subsidized because too Malaysian make too low income to afford the real cost of healthcare. Because the financing and costs are all messed up, they resort to crazy measures to make it political palatable. In other words, its about politics, not medicine, not even about cost and entitlement. Its plain for a messed-up political system.

Yang

The policy is definitely fair. Foreigner should pay more than local. After all they are working here and pay no income tax.

tunglang

Anil, the fellas who maximise profit thro’ cheap foreign labours should pay for their health care while under their payrolls. Why should the gomen hospitals subsidise for the foreigners’ health care costs while they employers reaped maxi-profits?

tunglang

Health care delinquency fine as 1st warning to employers. 24hr deportation as final deterrent. Immigration & health dept officers will have to take action without favours or kopi duit. Affected foreign embassies, pls take note of what is the current health status & welfare of your their country men. Shipping them here to work & send back foreign exchange brings with it some responsibilities.

Kevin

That is why we need strict labour laws. We debate a lot about minimum wage and whatnot but nobody looks into the welfare of foreign workers which ultimately affects the wellbeing of Malaysians. The only thing stopping us is big corporations who want to exploit workers for huge profits. When they don’t do their part, poor Malaysians have to subsidise healthcare for foreigners. The rich don’t bother, they can get treated at private hospitals that cost the earth.

tunglang

Kevin, private hospitals to the richie & wealthy are 7-Stars convalescence hotels, so the medical bills reflect their bing chui of medical health care.
The exploiters of cheap labours get nice & softly speaking young nurses to tend to their periodic minor headaches from contentions with minimum wages regulations, while the overworked + stressed out workers only have made in Indonesia Panadol to relieve their pains for weeks. This is an unfair world created for the ruthless, greedy & inhumane creatures to exploit the weak & powerless to the hilt.

Ailin Loh

Many other countries also practise 2-tier (national-foreigner) rates, not only for healthcare but education, plane fares, tourism etc. Ive been on the receiving end of such treatments in Singapore and China. So I think its justifiable.

As it is our govt rates are one of the cheapest in the region.

Kevin

I have to disagree with you in this Anil. Malaysian hospitals are publicly funded, hence their priority should be towards Malaysians. Our public hospitals do not even have the facilities and personnel to cope with the number of Malaysians seeking treatment, how are we supposed to give free treatment to foreigners? I work in a hospital setting and I see this happening day in and day out. Thousands of Malaysians, even those who are poor have to spend their savings on private hospitals because they simply cannot wait for service at the public hospitals. Until we can look after all… Read more »

Kevin

Agreed. Unfortunately, money is being spent elsewhere. When so little money is being pumped into healthcare I rather it benefit Malaysians before foreigners. A day will come, hopefully when we have more than enough resources to cater for all. Until then I feel it is the responsibility of the employers who took these foreigners in, to care for their health to a reasonable extent which is why I think healthcare insurance is a must for foreign workers earning below a certain level of income and students of course. If these companies cannot afford to pay for their insurance, do not… Read more »