Zima engages Govt on PSMAS debt
THE Zimbabwe Medical Association (Zima) is negotiating with the Government to assist Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) to pay doctors about $180 million arising from the society’s failure to pay for its clients’ treatment. PSMAS mainly caters for civil servants. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development released $5 million in July this year to offset what the doctors were owed by PSMAS after the medical practitioners threatened to stop accepting medical aid and demand cash payments from patients.
Doctors and other medical service providers are owed in excess of $220 million, according to figures from Zima.
Zima secretary general Dr Shingi Bopoto yesterday said the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) was taxing doctors even if medical aid societies have not paid them.
“The Ministry of Finance intervened in July and released funds to offset some of the money owed to doctors and medical service providers by PSMAS.
“However, PSMAS still owes more than $180 million. It’s now towards the end of the year and Zimra wants their money. We’re therefore engaging the Ministry of Finance to negotiate for the release of more funds to pay doctors and medical service providers so that they’re able to pay taxes to Zimra and provide quality services to their clients,” he said.
Dr Bopoto emphasised the need for health insurers to pay doctors and health service providers so that the lives of patients are not at risk.
“By not paying doctors their dues, medical aid societies are disregarding the law and putting the health of patients at risk.
“There is a law which prescribes what must be paid and when this must be paid, which unfortunately is being disregarded,” he said.
Dr Bopoto expressed concern that their members were being tracked by Zimra over non-payment of tax on claims that would have not been honoured by medical aid societies adding that most doctors were now being forced to borrow money to meet tax obligations and avoid prosecution for evading tax.
He said engaging the Ministry of Finance was one of the debt collection methods that they have come up with to recover their money.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development Patrick Chinamasa could not be reached for comment.
Early this year, the Government threatened to cancel licences for medical aid societies who were not meeting their obligations.
PSMAS has been failing to effect claims payments to health service providers, resulting in most of its members being rejected by some health institutions.
The society has been failing to pay its employees on time for almost two years due to working capital constraints. — @ pamelashumba1