CARDIAC CARE FOR THE ECONOMICALLY CHALLENGED
OCT 10, 2018 @6.11 PM
MAA Medicare Heart Charity Fund's first Cardiac Diagnostic and Treatment Centre located at Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, Kuala Lumpur offers comprehensive cardiac and vascular diagnostic services at 30 per cent lower the cost compared to private hospital, a further subsidised cost for those who can't afford treatment or free for the poor.
After 24 years of providing highly subsidised charitable dialysis treatment for thousands of needy kidney patients, MAA Medicare Heart Charity Fund recently announced that its first Cardiac Diagnostic and Treatment Centre located at Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, Kuala Lumpur is officially opened and ready to offer comprehensive cardiac and vascular diagnostic services to the poor and underprivileged for free and at a highly subsidised cost.
Speaking of MAA Medicare Charitable Foundation, its chief executive officer Dato’ Aliyah Karen (pix) explained that the foundation started in 1994, establishing the kidney charity fun as a non-profit arm for MAA assurance back then.
What mooted the cardiac diagnostic and treatment centre
“Dialysis was scarce and there were too many people who were trying to get dialysis treatment. It so happen that one of MAA’s staff who was diagnosed with end stage renal failure could not afford to go to a private centre. The hospital did not have the facility and the government hospitals were quite full at that point of time. When she approached the National Kidney Foundation, she was told that they were giving subsidies to those earning RM1200 and below. She was then earning RM1500.”
“She was caught in this “kidney dialysis dilemma, so MAA decided why not start the first dialysis centre and help other patients like her who probably are waiting eagerly to get on some treatment with much subsidy.”
Thus the first centre was established by the MAA group along Jalan Ipoh with only six machines and with 20 patients.
“In 1995, there was a request from Teluk Intan for some assistance as well followed by subsequent request from Butterworth. This was the first three centres that was actually run with the assistance of MAA group.”
“In 2014, we had 12 centres by then and we were comfortable with 800 patients to care for. Most of these patients are from the lower social economic group and their household income is less than RM2000 a month.”
Aliyah pointed out that at that point of time, there was a new board member who was very impressed with what they were doing with kidney and requested for a similar fund to be set up for patients with cardiac problems.
“We knew that it was an entirely new thing which would not be cheap. So we did an extensive feasibility study that took almost a year and did a lot of work with the Ministry of Health, looked into University Hospital, Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (HUKM) and University Malaya Medical Centre while considering private rates just to gage what a person would need to pay should they have a heart failure, need a bypass, an angioplasty and an angiogram.”
“But what was shocking three years ago was the waiting list in the government hospitals due to the fact that people could not afford to go to private centres and hospitals. Hence with the board’s support, we decided to establish the first cardiac centre.”
MAA Medicare Charitable Diagnostic and Treatment Centre
“While our 12 kidney centres have been established in nine states throughout Malaysia, we have now open doors to patients who are having heart ailments - looking into prevention rather than cure with the set-up of the first charity cardiac centre which is now known as the MAA Medicare Charitable Diagnostic and Treatment Centre.”
“We started in September with our first 78 year-old patient who could not afford angiogram in a private hospital,” said Aliyah.
Today, the centre has five top notch cardiologist from Gleneagles and Pantai Hospital on the panel to see patients on a weekly basis to ensure that they are well treated and cared for in addition to being equipped with Multi Slice CT Scan, X-Ray, Cardio Angiogram/Angioplasty equipment and facilities. The centre has two floors with four day beds in each and twin sharing six day beds – two per room.
A fraction of the cost
Aliyah explained that patients are categorised by four levels – those who can afford to pay a reasonable rate which is still 30 per cent lower compared to the private hospital and those who could not afford whereby a social assessment will be done to qualify them for further subsidised cost for treatment or free for those who are poor.
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