27 September 2007

Referrals from private hospitals okay, too

The Star

SEREMBAN: From Monday, civil servants and pensioners can get referrals from private hospitals to get treatment at the National Heart Institute (IJN).

Previously, they could only be referred to the institute by doctors from government hospitals or clinics.

Public Services director-general Tan Sri Ismail Adam said their spouses and eligible family members would also qualify for the free treatment at IJN.

"The move is to improvise the present system for government employees and retirees who wish to seek treatment at IJN," he said in a circular.

He said the patient could also be referred to IJN by physicians or cardiologists practising in private clinics.

In an immediate response, Cuepacs president Omar Osman said the Government's move reflected efforts to improve the public delivery system.

"It is definitely a step in the right direction. At least, government employees, particularly retirees will not have to queue up at public hospitals or clinics and wait even longer to get treatment at IJN," he said.

Omar said the Government should also bear the cost for government servants and retirees who sought treatment at the private hospitals and clinics.

"Guarantee letters should be issued on the spot or electronically. You cannot expect them to pay first and claim later as they may not have cash on them," he added.

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