When we go to the hospitals, one of the things we worry most is the medical bill we will be saddled with. For some, a bill can run into the tens of thousands or more. For others, it may be a smaller sum but no less worrying.
That was the experience of Malaysian Razali Raihayu.
In a Facebook post which has since gone viral and shared by many, Mr Razali related how he had gone to a hospital in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to pay for his father’s radio-therapy.
“I was queuing at the payment counter in HKL [Hospital Kuala Lumpur] for my late dad’s urgent radio-therapy for his cancer. We were so broke that month. I have only RM100 in my pocket (and 0 in bank). That was all the money we have for our lunch, and fuel/toll back to Melaka.”
When he finally received the bill, he said “my heart sank.”
“The total bill was RM11,000,” he said.
But the hospital staff “saw my reaction and keep on smiling to me”, Razali said.
They told him: “Encik jangan risau, sila pergi ke kaunter hasil.”
It meant: “Don’t worry, sir. Please proceed to the counter.”
“I proceeded as instructed,” Razali said, “and the officer there printed another long bill after confirming my dad’s NRIC, in it, printed on it are the same itemized treatment, with 0 value and a remarks *warganegara*.”
“Waranegara” means “citizen”.
“The final bill was RM31.80,” Razali said.
When he saw this, he “cried on the spot”.
He thanked “all the officers there for helping me.
But they replied: “Takpe encik, semua warganegara layak.”
It meant: “No need, sir. All (Malaysian) citizens are entitled.”
Razali’s post has touched many, including Hospital Kuala Lumpur emergency physician Alzamani Mohammad Idrose, who shared Razali’s post.
Alzamani, in his own post, explained the breakdown of the costs of the medical services rendered.
For RM1, he said, patients typically get consultation (worth RM200), X-ray (RM100), ultrasound for some cases (RM150), CT scan for some cases (RM500), blood tests (RM150) and drugs (RM150).
The total value is RM1,250, a “conservative estimate”, he said, adding, “You pay RM1. We absorb RM1,249.”
For outpatient treatment at the emergency department for patients with a “simple fever” but which requires blood tests, a chest X-ray, antibiotics and observation, Alzamani said the estimated cost is RM500.
“You pay RM1 and we absorb RM499,” he said.
“When you come to the public hospital, often the real cost is not shown. We just hope you don’t value us as only RM1. Because we know our worth.”