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Medical aid societies demand inclusion on regulatory board

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Medical aid societies have approached the government demanding representation on the proposed regulatory authority for their industry, the Association of Healthcare Funders of Zimbabwe (AHFoZ) has said.

BY OWN CORRESPONDENT

In a presentation on the draft Medical Aid Societies Bill during a consultative meeting hosted on Monday by the Health and Child Care ministry, AHFoZ complained that the draft Bill gave health funders no representation and voice in the constitution of the board.

On the other hand, health practitioners were given three representatives on the proposed board.

It suggested there would be a conflict of interest in having service providers, all of whom have an interest in decisions made by medical aid societies, dominating the board directly or indirectly.

The association also argued that medical aid societies should not be barred from recommending that its members use their own services, hospital or specialist medical units.

“It (a medical aid society) should not force members to use its own facility. There is, however, no justification for prohibiting it from making a recommendation or giving an inducement in a manner that any competitor would,” it said.

It also argued against the annual registration renewal of existing funders, saying this created uncertainty in the organisations.

It said the draft Bill did not create a lasting solution to the problem of fraudulent claims or offer solutions to the failure by employers to remit contributions to medical aid societies on time or at all.

AHFoZ pointed out that the proposed regulatory authority would be costly to run and suggested the number of board members should be reduced.

Deregistration of a medical aid society should be done in terms of a court order, unless the society agreed to the deregistration, it said, adding the proposed Bill did not leave room for service level agreements.

It proposed that the Bill should acknowledge the existence of AHFoZ and its residual regulatory powers already in existence in a number of areas.

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