Doped by doc­tors

Finweek English Edition - - Letters - DR A M LEVIN

A RE­CENT AR­TI­CLE in the me­dia dis­cussing anaes­thetists’ de­ci­sion to charge private rates for their ser­vices and to ig­nore the med­i­cal aid rates, high­lights the des­per­ate need to re­view the en­tire ques­tion of med­i­cal health­care fund­ing.

It’s im­por­tant that pa­tients re­alise that the money med­i­cal aids pay on their be­half, comes from the fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits they’ve ne­go­ti­ated with med­i­cal aids in terms of their agreed-on monthly con­tri­bu­tions. From a prac­ti­cal and le­gal point of view, this is the pa­tient’s money to be spent as the pa­tient deems nec­es­sary. The med­i­cal aids are there to ad­min­is­ter th­ese funds ac­cord­ing to a pro­gramme of pay­ment as stip­u­lated and reg­u­lated by Gov­ern­ment.

There’s in­creas­ing ev­i­dence that this form of med­i­cal aid con­trol of health­care fund­ing is fail­ing. The is­sue with anaes­thetists bears tes­ti­mony to this. This fail­ure will be fur­ther sub­stan­ti­ated when the Risk Equal­i­sa­tion Fund is forced on med­i­cal aids by Gov­ern­ment.

What’s des­per­ately needed is for med­i­cal aids to have their cur­rent for­mat changed so that they be­come med­i­cal ser­vice ad­vis­ers that’ll be in a bet­ter po­si­tion to ad­vise pa­tients on their fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits, rather than tar­get­ing med­i­cal prac­ti­tion­ers to “toe the line” to ad­here to a Gov­ern­ment stip­u­lated cost for med­i­cal ser­vices. (Let­ter short­ened)

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