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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Private hospitals gear up for GST

The Malaysian Reserve | January 22, 2014

By Farah Adilla

SHAH ALAM: The implementation of the 6% of Goods and Service Tax (GST) in 2015 will not have a huge impact on the private healthcare industry.

People will see only a minimum rise in cost for public healthcare and the fact that they pay the cost through their insurance, said Frost & Sullivan GIC Malaysia Sdn Bhd healthcare senior VP Rhenu Bhuller.

She said despite that, the country has to ensure a good quality of service because consumers will always have the option of using the public or private healthcare sector.

“Rather than a blanket GST, maybe we should look at areas where we want to move people away from public and into private because one of the impacts of GST could be that more people will decide to go to public healthcare rather than private.

“That impact will put more burden on public hospitals. That is what you want to avoid because the public sector is already overburdened,” she told reporters after her presentation at “Frost & Sullivan 2014 Asia Pacific Healthcare Outlook” in Shah Alam yesterday.

Meanwhile, Frost & Sullivan said one of the most pressing issues in Malaysia is access to healthcare. Healthcare service providers are largely concentrated in urban areas, creating large pockets of rural and remote populations who have to struggle to access healthcare services.

“Seeing this as a key opportunity, leading private healthcare providers are expanding into tier-two and tier-three cities.

At the same time, the situation creates opportunities for telehealth and remote patient monitoring companies as well as those working with the telecommunications service providers to penetrate these areas,” she said.

The evolution and establishment of polyclinics or clinics is both complementary to as well as a threat to private hospitals.

“This is changing the way hospitals look at their operations, structure, roles, activities as well as their key measurements. The traditional models are no longer relevant in today’s healthcare environment and healthcare service providers need to focus on areas where they have expertise and can create efficiency and value-based care,” said Bhuller.

“Healthcare service providers can move across the value chain through partnerships, collaborations or acquisitions to be able to provide end-to-end services, consisting of not only treatment, but financing, pharmacy lab services as well as follow-on home care that will enable them to ensure resources are used effectively and for maximum benefit.”

She said healthcare providers and industry players need to consider key trends and dynamics which are driving reform in healthcare systems across the Asia-Pacific healthcare industry, such as mobility and security of information, risk-sharing, rebalancing of public and private sector financing and delivery of care, use of data to drive decisions as well as patient engagement.

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