Private hospitals are pleased with the government’s announcement that returning Malaysians and international travelers who are fully vaccinated do not need to undergo quarantine upon arrival in the country from April 1, 2022.
Medical tourists, especially from neighboring countries, have fallen sharply in the past two years since the start of the pandemic.
Patients who frequently seek treatment in Malaysia have asked to be readmitted to private hospitals to restart treatment or seek new therapies, particularly in Penang, Melaka and the Klang Valley.
The cost of treatment in Malaysia is relatively cheap, which is why private hospitals saw the number of medical tourists increase in 2019 to around 1.22 million.
We have doubled the number of medical tourists since 2011 because we are able to provide world-class treatment at an affordable price compared to other Asian countries.
With borders reopening, private hospitals will strictly adhere to all standard operating procedures set out by the Ministry of Health (MOH), ensuring that there is no increase in Covid 19 transmission due to medical tourists.
Unvaccinated medical tourists will be subject to mandatory quarantine.
Medical tourism has improved the level of private medical care in Malaysia, and in recent times we have reached an agreement with the government to treat decanted patients from public hospitals at a negotiated cost.
This has greatly benefited Malaysian citizens who cannot otherwise afford private treatment. This program is ongoing and is regulated and monitored by the Ministry of Health.
We hope that by moving into the endemic phase, private hospitals will still be able to participate with the government in various areas, from vaccination to treating paying Covid-19 patients. This will undoubtedly ease the burden on public hospitals.
In addition to government support, we hope that insurance companies will also step in to help patients infected with Covid-19.
Approval of antiviral drugs for Covid-19 should also be extended to private hospitals, as there are large numbers of private patients seeking treatment for long Covid.
Dr. Kuljit Singh is the President of the Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM).
- This is the personal opinion of the author or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of code blue.