Selangor Journal
State executive councillor for public health and environment Jamaliah Jamaluddin speaks to media practitioners during an iftar event at Restoran Chandat@Terapung in Shah Alam, Selangor on April 1, 2024. — Picture by MOHD KHAIRUL HELMY MOHD DIN/SELANGORKINI

Iltizam Selangor Sihat sees user surge after downscaling of Madani scheme

By Danial Dzulkifly

SHAH ALAM, June 14 — The Iltizam Selangor Sihat (ISS) initiative has seen a surge in the number of users after the Federal government cut back on its Madani Medical Scheme (MMS), said state executive councillor for public health Jamaliah Jamaluddin.  

She was quoted as saying by online health portal CodeBlue that the state government also expects more people to utilise its scheme in the future for better access to public healthcare, following the scaling down of MMS to focus on the original 10 districts rather than the initially-proposed nationwide expansion, due to funding constraints.

“With the Health Ministry’s decision to downscale the MMS to just 10 districts nationwide (including Petaling and Klang in Selangor), it’s reasonable to anticipate potential shifts in how primary health services are utilised at the state level, particularly in Selangor.

“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,” she said.

ISS, formerly known as Skim Peduli Sihat, offers subsidies up to RM70 per visit to private clinics for patients from low-income families. 

The initiative provides an annual allocation of RM500 to families and RM250 to individuals.

The state government allocates tens of millions of ringgit each year to support some 100,000 individual ISS beneficiaries and 150,000 families who have signed up for the programme. 

“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 was quoted to have said.

Good utilisation rate

She also clarified previous reports of ISS’ supposed low utilisation rate of 7 per cent, stating that the figure only represented the total active principal funds that have been fully utilised as of October 1, 2023. 

“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.

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

In a previous interview with CodeBlue, Jamaliah said that the state government had decided to slash the allocation for ISS from RM45 million to RM35 million this year due to low utilisation. 

However, she assured that the state will continue promotional efforts to ensure the scheme reaches its intended target.

Among the strategies are setting up registration counters at each state constituency service centre; integrating ISS registration with other state programmes like Selangor Saring, Jelajah Ehsan Rakyat and Jom Shopping; and using community health volunteers and leaders for door-to-door outreach.

The scheme is also being promoted across social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, and on public billboards.

MMS, meanwhile, is a programme facilitated by ProtectHealth Corporation (ProtectHealth) and was launched by the Federal government as a pilot project on June 15 last year, focusing on 10 districts. 

It was aimed at easing patient congestion, particularly in Green Zones at Emergency Departments (EDs) within public hospitals.

In February, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the government’s decision to scale down the scheme from the proposed nationwide expansion this year back to the 10 original districts was made after considering the sustainability of the government’s current finances.

ProtectHealth, in a statement on February 27, said the 10 districts are the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur; Gombak, Hulu Langat, Petaling Jaya, Klang (Selangor); Johor Bahru (Johor); Kinta (Perak); Northeast (Penang island); Kota Kinabalu (Sabah); and Kuching (Sarawak).

Meanwhile, Jamaliah said the state’s Tuberculosis (TB) Treatment Incentive Programme, which offers RM800 in financial assistance to TB patients, recorded a massive increase of 64 percent in utilisation from 2021 to 2023.

She noted that the number of beneficiaries had increased steadily from 729 in 2021, to 903 in 2022, and 1,192 last year.

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

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