DON’T TOSS OUT OLD TRUSTEES
THE MEDICAL SCHEMES Amendment Bill has the backs up of many sectors of the healthcare industry. However, there’s a new clause in the latest June 2008 version that needs the attention of medical schemes. It’s a “glaring issue” that limits periods of trustee service to a maximum six years, says Graham Anderson, principal officer of Profmed. He fears it may leave some medical schemes without “institutional memory” and trustees who are versed in the issues affecting the scheme.
Says Anderson: “The direct consequence of that is that many medical schemes would face the possibility of the majority of their trustees being obliged to resign if the Bill is passed in its current form. We’d urge the Department of Health to bear in mind there’s a severe shortage of people that are both willing and have the necessary expertise to serve as trustees in South Africa.”
It seems the department is trying to introduce the clause to address conflicts of interest as part of its attempt to improve the governance of medical schemes. Anderson says much of what it’s trying to do should be welcomed, but that it should seek less drastic alternatives to address the conflicts of interest issue.
Profmed’s scheme is relatively well placed, Anderson says, having a well-educated pool of members to draw trustees from. “However, we find it takes at least two years for new trustees to become familiar with the medical schemes industry, the legislative environment in which the scheme operates, the role players and the broader issues affecting private healthcare.”
SHAUN HARRIS firstname.lastname@example.org