PETALING JAYA: Sunway Medical Centre Sdn Bhd (SunMed) said there will be a slight increase on the hospital charges when the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is implemented this April, as it expects its own costs to go up by 4% and 5% post GST. Sunway Group Healthcare Services' managing director Lau Beng Long said that although hospital services are exempted from GST, medicines and medical supplies which previously are not subjected to tax will be taxed by 6%. "It is the cost of the supplies that we purchase from the supplier, now they will charge us an additional 6% for the GST. So now we have to absorb this 6%," he told reporters at the group's announcement on its investment to implement the new hospital information system, namely C-HIS yesterday. "A major portion of these (medicine and medical supplies) are subjected to GST, so on average there will be about 4% to 5% increase in our operating costs, therefore, there will be a slight increase (in hospital charges) because we have to pay the GST to the suppliers," he said. Lau noted that the group is looking at managing its costs effectively to not pass the full operating costs to its patients. "We are trying to manage our costs so that we don't have to pass the full costs to the patients. We are looking at greater efficiency and productivity," he added. Meanwhile, SunMed is investing RM12 million to implement the new hospital information system, kick-starting the hospital's five-year digital transformation programme. The group has selected Hitachi Sunway Information Systems Sdn Bhd (Hitachi Sunway), an Information technology (IT) services and solutions provider to implement the C-HIS by Telstra Health to improve its medical services quality and patient's care. The C-HIS system will replace the traditional paper-based approach of physical medical records handling with electronic medical records (EMR) for seamless record transfer to-and-from the point-of-care. "This IT investment with Hitachi Sunway will form the core backbone of the hospital's digital transformation programme that will also encompass implementation of future IT solutions," he said, noting that the C-HIS will also facilitate updates to the hospital's Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to incorporate GST. On the group's hospitals updates, he said its two new hospitals in Sunway Velocity in Cheras and near Sunway Carnival mall in Penang are expected to be completed in 2018, in which the two new hospitals will have 200 and 220 beds. "The new C-HIS will be central to support the current and future operations of SunMed with the building of an additional hospital block that will bring the total number of beds to 600, which is expected to be completed by 2017," Lau added. SunMed currently has 359 beds, 119 consultation suites and 12 operation theatres, offering a range of medical services, which includes facilities and medical technologies for outpatient and in-patient specialty care, health and wellness programmes and 24-hour emergency services.