Teaching hospitals warned against charging retirees and disabled patients

KUALA LUMPUR: Action will be taken against teaching hospitals if they charge retirees and disabled patients for medical treatment.

Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Mary Yap Kain Ching urged Tan Kok Wai (DAP-Cheras) to submit to the ministry the alleged letter of attorney sent to patients demanding for medical bills to be settled, when they are in fact eligible for free treatment.

"I urge you to submit the letter to the ministry and we will investigate it. Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre (UKMMC) give free treatment to the disabled and retired patients. They cannot force them to pay for treatment," she told the Dewan Rakyat.

Tan had asked the ministry to state the rationale behind the actions of UMMC and Hospital Tuanku Muhriz (under UKMMC) to issue letters of attorney to threaten patients and summon them to court for failing to settle their medical bills in full.

Yap said the medical or treatment costs in these teaching hospitals are according to a standard operating procedure decided by the government.

"The service charge committee monitors and compares the costs with the Health Ministry and private hospitals from time to time and then it is approved by the managing board which is represented by the ministry, Finance Ministry and Health Ministry," she said.