Dialysis outrage

The non-profit St John Ambulance Malaysia’s dialysis centres have been hit by the bureaucratic requirements of the PHFSA. ST reports

SHAH ALAM: St John Ambulance Malaysia (SJAM) have threatened to surrender all their dialysis centres to Putrajaya after unreasonable requirements were imposed on them with the enforcement of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 2008.
Some 500 kidney patients who visit the non-profit organisation’s 14 dialysis centres nationwide up to 13 times a month at affordable rates will have most to lose. “If the government doesn’t amend the law, we’re giving up. We cannot cope,” its Selangor state commander Datuk Bernard Yeoh said in a phone interview.
Nine out of SJAM’s 14 dialysis centres are located in Selangor, with three in Klang, two in Rawang, and one each in Balakong, Banting, Shah Alam and Kuala Selangor.
Yeoh questioned the rationale of imposing the Private Healthcare Act on SJAM as they are a non-profit organisation and their centres fulfill the international standards of ISO9000:2008.
“We started running these centres in 1993. We’re the pioneer (in this field) and we are experienced. We know what’re doing,” he said, adding that patients have been satisfied with their services.
The new law compels private haemodialysis centres to have at least 4.5 sq metre of space for each patient.
In addition, a dialysis centre’s water treatment room, reprocessing room and store room must be located separately from the dialysis room.
SJAM commander-in-chief Datuk Dr Low Bin Tick said it was unreasonable for Putrajaya to impose such requirements on them as their centres have limited space compared to private hospitals.
To add insult to injury, the health ministry has suspended the RM50 subsidy per treatment for new patients in SJAM’s dialysis centres since June 2010 due to their failure to comply with the new law.
“Why punish the patients?” questioned Yeoh.
He said SJAM has been forking out money from their own pockets and sourcing for sponsors and public donations to subsidise their needy patients.
He explained that SJAM charge RM110 per treatment, which is three times cheaper than the rate at private hospitals, and if a patient receives the RM50 government subsidy, he or she only needs to pay RM60 per treatment.
“Without the subsidy, a patient will have to pay an additional RM650 per month. Imagine the financial burden on poor patients. Some of them come to us crying,” said Yeoh.
SJAM are also frustrated that their three new dialysis centres have yet to receive the health ministry’s green light to begin operations despite waiting nearly a year.
The ministry has refused to issue an operating licence to SJAM’s fully-furnished dialysis centres in Serdang, Cheras and Bidor due to their failure to comply with the space requirements.
The health ministry declined to comment when contacted by Selangor Times.


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