Doctors, medical aid societies clash

Johannes Marisa

Private medical players say they are struggling to finance their operations due to some medical aid societies that are delaying payments or not paying at all.

Medical and Dental Private Practitioners of Zimbabwe Association (MDPPZA) president Johannes Marisa said they were surprised when patients vent their anger towards them when they ask for co-payments.

“It’s surprising that patients tend to blame us when we ask them to do co-payments instead of directing their anger towards the medical aid societies, which are buying posh cars for bosses at the expense of service delivery,” Marisa said.

“Service providers are languishing in poverty due to non-payment by medical aid societies and we have noted with concern that apart from non-payments, there are also delayed payments.

“You will find that some of the reasons of non-payment are very funny; you find that claim forms are rejected if they are submitted after 90 days, which is not according to law, but medical societies’ own rules.”

Marisa said the 90-day deadlines were in violation of the constitution.

He said as MDPZZA they could not sit on their laurels while their members were being short-changed by the medical aid societies.

“As an association we will find how best we can engage responsible authorities and find a solution to this,” he said.

He said private doctors will continue charging co-payments to remain viable.

Marisa said they were wondering how some medical aid societies got their operating licences when they don’t even reimburse service providers.

Zimbabwe’s health delivery system has been crippled by years of underfunding and a severe brain drain.

Public health institution struggle to provide services due to lack of equipment and drugs, forcing Zimbabweans to seek treatment at private hospitals and clinics whose services are priced beyond the reach of many.

Medical aid societies are not able to provide relief because of high tariffs and other inefficiencies.

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