DEPUTY HEALTH MINISTER DR LEE BOON CHYE URGE INSURERS TO INCLUDE HOSPICE CARE IN POLICY
APRIL 12, 2019 @12.54 PM
More than 56,000 Malaysians require palliative care each year. However, less than 10% of this need is currently met, although palliative medicine was recognised as a medical subspecialty in 2008.
“To date, six public hospitals have palliative care specialists. Nevertheless, we still lack a comprehensive strategy to develop services across the country,” said Dr Lee Boon Chye, Deputy Minister of Health at the launching ceremony of “Speak Up – Because I Matter” campaign which is in conjunction with Palliative Care Awareness Month.
Elaborating further, Lee said such a strategy is important to look at how the workforce can be developed through training and education and to improve access to essential medication.
Lee then cited the 2014 World Health Assembly, Resolution 67.19 that called for a strengthening of palliative care as part of comprehensive healthcare.
“To add to this, the World Health Organisation Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases as well as the United Nations General Assembly on Sustainable Development Goals 3.8 has called for the inclusion of palliative care as both are means to deal with NCDs and to be included as part of universal health coverage.”
“In addition to this, the 2018 Astana Declaration advocated palliative care to be part of primary health care services, as there is significant evidence that community palliative care post numerous benefits including reducing hospital stays, out patients, costs and improved patient and family satisfaction.”
At this juncture, Lee raised his hope to see insurers play a vital role by considering hospice care for patients who are certified to have a limited lifespan.
“The term of coverage for most insurance policies would not exceed the hospitalisation period. However, it is not impossible for these insurers to extend beyond that term and to include hospice care even though a patient is discharged,” he said.
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