Friday, December 19, 2008

IJN Dollars and Cents

IJN is the nation’s premier cardiovascular disease treatment centre. As I’ve said before, it is one of those national institutions that have done much to improve the government’s public image. It projects the image of Malaysia Medical professionals that when given the right environment, they can be top class too.

Over the years, IJN has become the national referral centre for cardiovascular disease. It is often also a referral centre for private hospital since it is safer to have a heart disease that requires surgical intervention to be done by public institution rather than private institution with all the risks involved.

We must admit that IJN has done well despite all constraints. I’ve been given to understand that annually, IJN treated about 150, 000 patients of which 70% are government servants.

In short, it provides healthcare services to the poor and for those who can afford to pay; they pay at a more competitive rate.

Every year, the government spends about RM10 billion of healthcare services for this country. I am not even talking about government expenditure per year for development. What the government collects is just a paltry sum of RM200 million.

Healthcare services is heavily subsidized. I for one believed that in the long term, this is not a sustainable option and one of the options is to introduce Healthcare Financing Scheme, which I tried hard to push when I was the Minister but got boiled down by bureaucratic red tape.

Hence, it never sees the light of the day.

IJN is heavily subsidized by the government. About RM200million a year is paid by the government to IJN in order to provide affordable services to the poor and government servants.

While this is not a small figure, the goodwill generated by the government to the rakyat is tremendous. Politically, the impact is huge and when compared to the National Health budget; it is only about 2.5%.

Now, we are confronted with what looks like a done deal that IJN is bought over by a GLC company.

I’ve said before and I will say it again, almost all privatized organizations are often not done the way that it should be done.

To ensure that the private sector’s bottom line is taken care of, Sime Darby’s acquisition of IJN stakes will not go down well with the rakyat unless the social responsibility of the government in affordable healthcare services is taken over by Sime Darby as its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

In other words, the government will continue to pay Sime Darby the sum they are paying now to IJN for the poor and government servant. Otherwise, the government will lose a lot of goodwill because the government of the day is seen to be more concern with dollar and cents than the welfare of rakyat.

Hence, it is important that Sime Darby continue to discharge the duty of the government for providing treatment to the poor and government servants despite after it has been privatized.

The Health Minister’s promise to regulate the fees sounds hollow since the private hospital’s fees are also regulated but we have heard of horror stories of exorbitant fees charged by private hospitals.

I had openly raised this when I was the Health Minister of the commercialization of healthcare and hence, its bottom line becomes crucial to private sector. Often, the poor patient is at the receiving end and the government’s regulations become a toothless tiger.

So, I hope that the government will reconsider its decision of privatizing IJN. If it so decides to proceed, please do not neglect the poor and government servants. We will lose a lot of goodwill and votes to BN if not done properly.

国家心脏中心(IJN)是我国首屈一指的心血管疾病医疗中心。正如我过去所说,国家心脏中心是其中一间成功建立良好信誉和公共形象的国家机构。该机构展现了大马医药专才的优秀水平,证明只要有发挥的机会,我国专才也可以由超水平的表现。

多年来,IJN已成为国家心血管疾病主要的医疗中心,包括来自私人医院的转荐,这是因为心脏疾病面对的手术和治疗风险相对较高,而由IJN心血管专科诊治比私人医院较安全。

我们必须承认,尽管面对许多限制,国家心脏中心却达到不错的成就。据我了解,该中心每年的病人人数高达15万人,其中70%是公务员。换言之,它以更低的收费,让许多贫穷和负担能力有限的人士享获医疗服务。

政府每年在医药服务的花费高达100亿令吉,这还不包括每年的发展开支。而政府所收取的医药费却仅仅是2亿令吉。

在我国,医药保健服务是大量获补贴的领域。我个人认为,长远来看这并不能够持续下去,所以有必要实行医疗融资计划。当我还是部长时,就曾竭力推动这项计划,惟因官僚和繁文缛节之阻而无法落实。

国家心脏中心也获得政府大量补贴。政府每年拨款2亿令吉予该中心,为贫穷的病人提供这方面的医疗服务。2亿令吉并非小数目,但却能为国家带来巨大的商誉。

现在,国家心脏中心面临可能被一间官联公司收购的命运。

我曾经说过,几乎所有企业,一旦被私营化后将和原来的经营方针背道而驰。

森那美集团收购国家心脏中心股权的计划绝对不受人民欢迎,人民也不会赞成私营化,除非该集团愿意杠下政府对社会的责任,承诺目前政府所实行的补贴在私营化后,由该集团持续支付,以确保人民享受可负担的收费。

因此,若森美那集团要收购国家心脏中心,那它必须确保持续履行政府的职务,提供补贴继续让穷人和公务员享有低收费的医药服务。

国家心脏中心私营化新闻见报后,卫生部长 承诺会监督收费的言论未免空洞缺乏诚意,因为目前既已有条例监管私立医院的收费,但私人医院收费过高的事仍层出不穷。

但我还是部长时,我曾多次公开地说,医疗服务商业化最终苦了贫穷的病人,而政府的条例也沦为无牙老虎, 监管工作受限。

因此,我希望政府能重新考虑私营化国家心脏中心的决定。如果势在必行,我希望当局不会忽略贫困的群体的公务员。否则,不仅导致心脏中心失去原有的良好信誉,也会流失国阵选票。

3 comments:

呉 和豪 said...

Dato Seri Dr. Chua Soi Lek
We hope you will continue with this good style under what circumstances also , talk without fear or favour , oppose not for the sake of opposing, when party concerened need to be praised, praise them.

Spending on medical services by government should be viewed as investment to country also,espcialy the affordable medical treatment given to the senior citizen ,government and the lowly income ,they are the assets to the country

Wish you live long to serve our lovely nation.

呉 和豪 said...

Dato Seri Dr. Chua Soi Lek
We hope you will continue with this good style under what circumstances also , talk without fear or favour , oppose not for the sake of opposing, when party concerened need to be praised, praise them.

Spending on medical services by government should be viewed as investment to country also,espcialy the affordable medical treatment given to the senior citizen ,government and the lowly income ,they are the assets to the country

Wish you live long to serve our lovely nation.

Pearls said...

This government is so good at making such drama!! I think if this government ever loses their job at running the country, which I should think soon, they can go start a mini Hollywood here!

Why want to sell IJN to begin with? Their hands itchy? Someone is in need of cold hard cash FAST and PLENTY? WHY? WHY? WHY?

Some more that DPM and PM can come up with some half hearted storyline like.. "Sime will have to guarantee that the poor will be taken care of. The poor will be taken off. The poor will not be deprieved of such medical care" WTF la!!!

What and how do you classify as POOR? Most of the time, heart disease is not a stroll by the park kinda of illness where you can take your darling time to go get all the necessary departments to certify that you are POOR. I can only imagine a heart patient will most probably die from the stress of running from one moronic government department to another just to get certification of being POOR than the actual heart disease!

What and how do you keep the current fee structure when you are a public listed company that is only answerable to shareholders as Profit and Lost is your real name?

What and how is the government going to do about anything if Sime Darby decides to increase the fee structure? Not to say it has never happened before on Malaysian soil.

Now, after all the bashing, the government do a U-TURN and say this deal is OFF/ON HOLD/PENDING. If DPM and PM talk until like it is the DEAL that will benefit everyone, than why put it on hold/Off/Pending now? Because these 2 idiots got no integrity/confidence/brains in what they have said earlier?? For the love of GOD la..

So, the whole deal is on hold now. Meaning, there will still be a chance for some greedy fatso in some tiny hole in some government department to revive this DEAL and make himself/herself RICH? The poor will always have this fear that such life saving help that they can ill afford can and will be taken away from them anytime?

1 word says it all about our government.. SHAMELESS!!

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