KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Health (MOH) is looking at delegating powers to private medical practitioners to handle Covid-19 patients.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said so far, private medical practitioners were not authorised to deal with Covid-19 cases and only can refer them to a government facility.
“With these delegated powers given, private facility doctors will be allowed to order high risk patients to undergo home surveillance order (HSO) and wear bracelets for monitoring.
“After completing the HSO, they can issue release orders as well as cut the patient’s bracelet,” he said in a Covid-19 State of Emergency engagement session held virtually with the media today.
The session was also attended by Sungai Buloh Hospital Infectious Disease Senior Consultant Specialist Datuk Dr C Suresh Kumar, Institute of Medical Research (IMR) Head of Virology Unit Dr T Ravindran, Director of the National Public Health Laboratory, Dr Hani Mat Hussin and Senior Principal Assistant Director of MOH’s Medical Practice division, Dr Mohamed Ahsan Mohamed Ismail.
To date, there are almost 100 private hospitals nationwide ready to treat Covid-19 patients through public-private partnerships with a capacity of over 1,000 beds, 65 beds in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and 64 ventilators, he said.
“Although we have not referred our patients to private hospitals, but these hospitals are ready to accept Covid-19 patients, and so far 86 cases are being treated in private hospitals,” he said.
In addition, the MOH is also considering amending Act 586 to regulate the price of screening tests in private facilities.
“So far there is no specific act that allows the MOH to control the price but patients have the right to be informed of the price before a procedure is performed. As for Act 586, previously we used it to set the ceiling price of face masks,” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham said MOH is also currently in the process of raising the compound rate in Act 342 which is currently at a maximum of RM1,000.
The amount of compound is seen as insufficient for large-scale companies such as factories that have hundreds of employees who can cause the pandemic to spread, he said. — Bernama