Iltizam Selangor Sihat Sees Higher Usage After Madani Programme Downscaled

Iltizam Selangor Sihat (ISS) services saw rising usage from Jan to March this year after the federal Madani Medical Scheme was downscaled. Selangor exco Jamaliah expects further ISS utilisation. In 2023, ISS utilisation rate by beneficiaries reached 48%.

KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — More Selangorians have been accessing health care services from Iltizam Selangor Sihat (ISS) this year, after the federal government downscaled the Madani Medical Scheme (SPM).

Due to funding issues, SPM, which received an RM100 million allocation from the federal Budget 2024, was downscaled last February from a nationwide expansion to the original 10 districts back when it piloted in June 2023.

“With the federal Ministry of Health’s decision to downscale the Skim Perubatan Madani to 10 districts nationwide (Petaling and Klang districts in Selangor), it’s reasonable to anticipate potential shifts in how primary health services are utilised at the state level, particularly in Selangor,” Selangor state public health and environment executive councillor Jamaliah Jamaluddin told CodeBlue in a recent email interview.

“Recent trends show an uptick in health care insurance utilisation, with ISS seeing increased usage from January to March. Further increases are anticipated, especially with many local areas actively promoting new member registrations following data cleansing efforts last year.”

ISS, the Selangor state government’s health insurance scheme, offers financial support for basic medical treatment, outpatient care, and vaccinations, besides covering hospitalisation, death, and critical illness benefits of up to RM10,000 for the principal applicant.

“This scheme represents a stride towards providing wider health security and financial assistance to our citizens confronted with health challenges, while also aiding the federal government in reducing the patient load on health facilities,” Jamaliah said.

She also clarified a previously reported figure of 7 per cent utilisation rate of the ISS scheme.

“According to Selcare’s 2023 report, the actual utilisation rate – meaning the percentage of active principals who have used the benefit at least once – stands at 48.32 per cent, while the 7 per cent figure refers to the percentage of total active principal funds that have been fully utilised as of October 1, 2023. 

“With new member registrations into ISS, we anticipate the utilisation rate to show a steady upward trend as the member count for ISS increases.”

The Selangor exco plans to increase outreach efforts, simplify the application process, and provide more comprehensive information to the public to increase utilisation of the ISS health insurance scheme.

These strategies include setting up registration counters at each Pusat Khidmat Rakyat; integrating ISS registration with other state government programmes like Selangor Saring, Jelajah Ehsan Rakyat, and Program Jom Shopping; and engaging community health volunteers (Sukarelawan Kesihatan Komuniti Selangor, SUKA) and community leaders in door-to-door outreach to inform and register eligible individuals.

The Selangor state government also plans to launch an ISS promotion campaign across multiple social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, besides announcements on public billboards.

TB Treatment Incentive Programme Utilisation Rose 64% In Two Years

Jamaliah highlighted the Selangor state government’s Tuberculosis Treatment Incentive Programme that saw a whopping 64 per cent increase in utilisation in just two years from 2021 to 2023.

With an average annual growth rate of 22 per cent, the programme – which provides RM800 in financial assistance to tuberculosis patients – saw a steady increase in the number of beneficiaries from 729 in 2021, to 903 in 2022, and to 1,192 last year.

The RM800 aid for tuberculosis patients is distributed in three stages, corresponding with the completion of treatment milestones at health care facilities.

“The primary aim of this financial assistance is to lessen the economic strain on patients, especially covering transportation costs involved in accessing treatment. This approach helps ensure that patients can adhere to their treatment schedules without the added stress of financial constraints,” Jamaliah said.

Partnership With Selcare As Administrator Of Selangor State Health Programmes

With multiple health programmes run by the Selangor state government – among the most comprehensive across the country – Jamaliah explained how comprehensive and detailed action plans for any programme, including health care, are necessary for Selangor’s diverse demographic across socioeconomic status.

“This approach ensures that the specific needs and circumstances of its varied population are adequately addressed. Selcare, a state government company that has operated the state’s health care programmes since 2017, has been successful in making sure that everything goes according to plan,” she said.

“This feat is facilitated by several key factors which includes a robust workforce, well-equipped facilities, and the deployment of technology through the Selangkah application, which enhances the user experience and streamlines the program’s entire journey from start to finish.

“To ensure that the state health programmes operate well, the state government will engage in preliminary discussions with Selcare to preemptively identify and resolve potential issues.

“The state government actively ensures that Selcare’s collaboration with associated agencies like the Selangor state health department (JKNS), local authorities, community leaders, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is well-coordinated and effective. This oversight is vital to maintaining a functional and successful programme implementation.”

Health-First Ethos For Selangor, Empowering Selangorians With Self-Autonomy

Jamaliah outlined the state government’s multiple health care initiatives and vision for a healthier Selangor. 

“Here in Selangor, we are propelled by the vision to foster a community that is proactive, inclusive, and deeply conscious about health. 

“Our mission revolves around equipping the people of Selangor with the essential tools, knowledge, and resources necessary for preventive health care, alongside the early detection and timely intervention of illnesses.”

One of Selangor’s main state health programmes is the Selangor Saring health screening programme that targets non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, hypertension, and cancers (namely prostate, breast, colorectal, and cervical).

“Alongside Selangor Cancer, this programme is pivotal in our mission to make early detection services widely available statewide. Our aim is to transition the health care paradigm from one that is largely reactive to one that emphasises prevention, enabling us to address diseases at their most manageable stages,” Jamaliah said.

Individuals who receive abnormal results from their screenings under Selangor Saring are eligible for free follow-up sessions until a definitive diagnosis is made. After that, they can seek treatment at government hospitals or private hospitals if they’re covered by insurance.

“This year, our goal is to extend these health screening programmes to all 56 DUNs (state constituencies) in Selangor, ensuring total coverage and accessibility to each and every Selangorian.”

Aid For Medical Equipment, Coverage Of End-To-End Mental Health Services

Besides the ISS state health insurance scheme, the state government’s Bantuan Sihat Selangor programme provides financial support for treatments like dialysis and cataract surgery, as well as for procuring medical equipment for surgery or care needs like wheelchairs.

“This initiative is particularly vital for individuals requiring consistent treatments, relieving the financial pressures on patients and their families,” said Jamaliah.

The Selangor state government even addresses mental health through a Selangor Mental Sihat (SEHAT) feature in the state’s Selangkah application. 

“Mental SEHAT is designed to dismantle the barriers surrounding mental health care by offering mental health screening tools, educational materials, support lines, and free professional consultations and treatments, including therapy and medications for those in need,” Jamaliah explained.

The objective of Mental SEHAT is to render mental health care accessible and free from stigma, thereby facilitating early intervention and support. 

Jamaliah expressed the Selangor state government’s commitment to covering mental health services end-to-end, ensuring that counselling, therapy, and medications are available for free to those who require them, completing a comprehensive support system for mental well-being.

“These initiatives exemplify just a portion of our public health programme. Through these efforts, we are dedicated to constructing a robust, healthier Selangor, ensuring that our health care system remains accessible, responsive, and centred on preventive measures,” she said.

“We are committed to a health-first ethos, where citizens are empowered with the knowledge, support, and resources needed for a healthier life.” 

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