Medical aids accused of racist mistreatment

Black and Indian private medical practitioners say they are struggling to get payment from medical aid schemes. They say this is because of the colour of their skin. Courtesy of #DSTV403

JOHANNESBURG - Private medical practitioners are struggling to get payments from medical aid schemes and some believe the difficulty is due to racism.

The practitioners say this unfair treatment sets their practices up for failure and puts their patients at risk.

Discovery Health responded to the claims by dismissing the allegations, saying the company is against any discrimination against healthcare professionals.

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Chairperson of the National Health Care Professionals Association, Dr Donald Gumede, said the NHCPA-SA has asked for a commission of inquiry into the payment methods of medical aids schemes.

Gumede explained the reason a commission of inquiry has been called for is that there is a siphoning of money from patients' premiums and medical aids are not paying medical administrators who are providing services.

Gumede stated the mistreatment by medical aids is felt most harshly by medical providers who are also people of colour.

Clinical social worker Nomaefese Gatsheni stated she was one of the victims of mistreatment from medical schemes.

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Gatsheni said the medical aid requires her to submit confidential patient information if she wants them to pay her directly or the medical aid reimburses the patients who sometimes do not pay their providers for their services.

A meeting is scheduled with Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi to discuss the matter on Thursday.