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Some hospitals in Malaysia prepare to welcome patients from SingaporeCNA26 February 2010Some hospitals in Malaysia are preparing to welcome more patients from Singapore. One has even tied up with tour operators to attract medical tourists from across the causeway.For Singaporeans, the hospital bills are cheaper. And from next month, they will be able to use Medisave to pay for treatment at 12 Malaysian hospitals.47-year-old Tan Chu Eng recently had an angiogram done at a private hospital in downtown Kuala Lumpur. It cost him half of what he would have to pay, if the procedure was done in Singapore.Beginning March 1, Singaporeans can use their compulsory medical savings under the Medisave scheme to pay for their treatment in 12 of the accredited hospitals in Malaysia. While the scheme covers hospitalizations and day surgeries, it does not include outpatient treatment.Singaporeans, who want to use Medisave to pay for treatment in Malaysia, must first obtain a referral from accredited institutions in Singapore.The total Medisave fund stands at S$42 billion, equivalent to US$30 billion. So, it is no surprise Malaysia’s newly accredited hospitals want to reach out to its 2.9 million account holders.One of them, Gleneagles Hospital in Kuala Lumpur, has tied up with travel agents and airlines to attract Singaporeans. Together they will offer seamless travel between cities, and medical care - made cheaper from savings on the exchange rate.Amir Firdaus Abdullah, CEO, Gleneagles Hospital, KL said: “We do not have a two-tier policy. It is one policy, one price for anybody who walks into Gleneagles.“We have one price for Singaporean and one price for Malaysian; this is not an opportunity we want to bargain on. This is healthcare we are talking about. It is all about being ethical, so it is going to be a single price for everything we do.”Eddy Leong, CEO, Firefly said: “Flying is a hassle nowadays, (with) security, baggage and so on. We try to make it a bit more seamless. If you need to, we can arrange the ambulance to go straight to the airport site.”A single room costs less than S$100, or US$70 a night. And if money is not an issue, you can enjoy the comfort of the presidential suite, complete with butler service, for under US$1,000 a night.Over the last two years, Gleneagles has spent US$20 million to digitize and upgrade its medical technology. It is also eyeing other markets such as Vietnam, Laos, the Philippines and the Middle East.Industry experts argued that the increased number of foreign patients will not drive up costs. In fact, it will enhance the quality of service and the level of care and competency at major private hospitals.
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