Covid-19 patients to pay for private hospital care for now

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Covid-19 patients who are treated in private hospitals will be required to pay out of their own pockets while the government resumes talks with insurance firms on payment options.

This was announced by the Chief Secretary to the Government Mohd Zuki Ali today.

“The Covid-19 patient financing mechanism by insurers at private hospitals is being fine-tuned by the Finance Ministry, Health Ministry, Bank Negara Malaysia and the insurance industry.


“For now, the private sector is empowered to treat Covid-19 patients who can afford to pay for their own medical and treatment costs,” Zuki said in a statement.

The decision was made by the government’s Emergency Management Technical Committee (Jawatankuasa Teknikal Pengurusan Darurat), he added.

The committee also decided that the Covid-19 integration plan will see “optimisation” and “mobilisation” of hospitals, human resources, and medical supplies from the public and private sectors.

“(The integration) will optimise existing laboratory capacity, especially at government agencies and public universities for testing and detecting Covid-19 on a big scale.

“Other medical resources like equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE) and medicine will be mobilised in accordance with the needs of hospitals, especially for public health services.

“This includes the mobilisation of medical personnel like nurses from private hospitals, especially those with specific expertise, to work in public hospitals temporarily,” Zuki said.

The goal of the plan is to ensure a systematic coordination between sectors so that both Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patients will have access to healthcare, he shared.

The Health Ministry previously said that the integration plan will involve 95 private hospitals with a total capacity of 1,286 beds, 65 intensive care unit (ICU) beds and 54 ventilators.

It hopes to roll out the plan this week.

Zuki said the Emergency Management Technical Committee further decided that the government will rent National Service (PLKN) and other campsites to temporarily house detainees.

“(The committee decided) to use PLKN, Kem Bina Negara and other appropriate facilities as temporary detention facilities and temporary detention depots for the Prisons Department, Immigration Department and the police on a rental basis,” he said, adding that the police were also in talks to procure more temporary lock-up facilities.

Sixteen PLKN sites will be used.

The reason for the move was to ensure sufficient physical distancing among detainees and to prevent Covid-19 outbreaks in detention facilities.

The top official assured that only detainees with “minor crimes” will be moved to these new facilities, which will be guarded by police, army and People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) officials.

This comes as detention centres have become Covid-19 hotspots due to their cramped and confined conditions.

Another issue the committee decided on was to empower the Public Service Department and Health Ministry to mobilise resources and staff from both federal and state governments.

Suitable government buildings and facilities will be converted into testing centres.

“Public servants will be temporarily assigned to areas that need extra help, especially in health and safety support services.

“Government assets like agency vehicles that are not being used in an optimum way can be shared to ensure critical services are more integrated and coordinated,” Zuki said.

He added that the Communications and Multimedia Ministry has been tasked with both collecting feedback from the people and communicating information to them.

“The ministry will gather views or feedback from the rakyat to give the government a true picture of the current emergency situation.

“The ministry will also act strategically by setting up special channels to ensure all information related to the implementation of the emergency will be communicated to the people in a holistic and accurate manner,” Zuki said. – Malaysiakini