Sunday, December 26, 2010

another kind of blood sucker?

Insist on itemised billing at private hospitals

THE private healthcare industry in this country is a very lucrative business.

As it is a business entity, its core aim is to make money. Many complaints have been made on how these entities charge for their services.

It is not disputed that there are multiple costs in running a hospital. However, this has been exploited by the management of these facilities to get huge returns.

The most common areas where the mark-up is significant are in the medication and lab investigations/diagnostics (x-ray, scan, etc).

There is sometimes a five-fold increase in medicine prices at private hospitals compared to pharmacies outside.

The hospital management is clever in disguising this cost by lumping all the medication in a single statement in the bill, for example as pharmaceuticals/disposables.

Some private hospitals charge a so-called dispensing fee which means that this fee is meant for the pharmacy assistant just to take the medicine from the counter and pass it to you.

The lab investigations is another area where there is gross increase in charges. This is more so after office hours or on public holidays.

The same amount of reagent/materials is used for running the blood sample during office hours; the only extra factor is the labour charge.

Always insist on itemised billing when you frequent private hospitals. Then you will realise who really makes the money.


Kuala Lumpur.