KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 20 — Sustainable well being care financing, public-private partnerships, and a robust major care system are the cornerstone of a sustainable well being care system and ought to be included in election manifestos for the fifteenth basic ballot, say well being specialists.
Prof Dr Lim Soo Kun, a nephrologist and affiliate professor at College of Malaya Specialist Centre; Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman, professional vice chancellor of analysis on the Worldwide Medical College (IMU) and director of IMU’s Institute for Analysis, Improvement and Innovation (IRDI); and Chua Hong Teck, an impartial public coverage and well being care analyst, spoke at nice lengths on the necessity for a extra sustainable well being care system in Malaysia.
Dr Lim proposed the implementation of a nationwide well being care insurance coverage scheme to assist sufferers bear the price of therapy. This, he mentioned, would alleviate the monetary burden on sufferers who need to make out-of-pocket funds to get handled for most cancers or organ failure.
“We all the time discuss common well being care protection in Malaysia. In actuality, we all know that we is likely to be doing good for major care, however not for tertiary care,” Dr Lim informed CodeBlue.
“Many sufferers, together with those that have cancers and end-stage organ failure, have to pay out-of-pocket for well being care bills. Catastrophic well being care expenditure is critical amongst these sufferers. I believe we’d like a greater security web for this.
“After all, we’d like additional dialogue on which mannequin we need to observe, however importantly, the well being care financing system must be revised.”
Nevertheless, Chua disagreed with introducing social medical insurance, stating that Malaysia already has a “nationwide well being service funded by tax income”, as he argued that such a scheme would burden the general public well being care system.
“For many who can afford, they’ve company and personal insurance coverage they usually additionally pay out of their very own pocket. The federal government ought to welcome this as those that can afford have opted out of the tax-based well being system. Are you able to think about that if everybody have been to make use of the general public well being system, the system would have collapsed years in the past,” Chua informed CodeBlue.
As an alternative of social medical insurance, Chua advocated for the continuation of a combined well being financing system and for the federal government to extend federal income by reintroducing the unpopular Items and Providers Tax (GST).
“A part of it may be earmarked for well being and a part of the income may be earmarked for NCD (non-communicable illness) expenditure. By this manner of earmarking income and expenditure, MOH (Ministry of Well being) and different associated businesses that present well being companies may be assured of an rising yearly funds.
“For many who need to opt-out of the tax-based system, extra incentives ought to be given to personal consumption by rising tax exemption for medical insurance, make insurance coverage transportable, cowl these with pre-existing sickness, have co-payment to cut back escalating prices and have ‘much less frills’ in personal well being care to make it extra reasonably priced.”
Chua proposed that if the federal government have been to start out a obligatory social medical insurance scheme, it will possibly start with new workers that enter the private and non-private workforce.
“This may be the start of social medical insurance for the longer term.”
Dr Lokman expressed the necessity to proceed work on or enhance the Well being White Paper initiative began by caretaker Well being Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, as he known as for a extra sustainable well being care financing system, addressing gross inequitable entry to well being care, and making a unified nationwide well being care system by integrating public-private service assets.
Digitise Well being Care As Half Of The New Regular
Making telehealth or telemedicine part of the brand new regular is an concept that each Dr Lim and Dr Lokman championed. The medical doctors held that the federal government should put money into IT and the digitisation of the well being care system in order that well being care is made extra environment friendly and seamless for medical doctors and sufferers.
“We want a greater system to hyperlink all well being care services collectively in order that the medical doctors can get entry to affected person’s well being info wherever they go to hunt medical therapy. We’ve seen profitable examples in Hong Kong the place they hyperlink all authorities and personal hospitals, and the well being info sharing is seamless,” mentioned Dr Lim.
Hong Kong is a rustic with one of the superior techniques of medical administration on the earth. Having been over 30 years in growth, the system seeks to decongest outpatient visitors, allow sufferers to be extra energetic of their well being, and enhance affected person outcomes.
Dr Lokman informed CodeBlue that “main funding in IT, and digitalisation of well being care as the important thing enabler of an environment friendly and related well being care system, together with growing coverage on Digital Medical File (EMR) and telehealth,” have to be part of political events’ election manifestos.
EMR is an idea that was first launched to Malaysia within the Telemedicine Blueprint 1997, within the type of the Lifetime Well being File (LHR) and Providers and Lifetime Well being Plan (LHP).
Dr Lim, particularly, considered telemedicine as a significant lesson that the Covid-19 pandemic taught the nation to forestall future disruptions to well being care companies if the nation have been to face one other pandemic.
“However, I believe what now we have realized from this pandemic is that we should always incorporate telemedicine into our day by day observe. Ought to make it our commonplace of care.
“Now, we do have telemedicine right here and there, however not at an even bigger scale and never commonplace of care in most practices. With pandemic transition to endemic, I can observe most healthcare employees are snug to return to the ‘previous mannequin of well being care’, i.e. bodily visits.”