Source: Consider plight of patients, doctors urged | The Herald June 24, 2016
Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
Doctors must reconsider their resolution to stop accepting medical aid cards with effect from next month so that patients do not suffer because of their differences with healthcare funders, Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa has said.
In an interview on the sidelines of the Zimbabwe field epidemiology training programme in Harare yesterday, Dr Parirenyatwa said together with Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, they met with both the doctors and the health funders and appealed for a postponement of the July 1 deadline to pave way for further dialogue.
“We have said to both doctors and health insurers; we do not want our patients to suffer. If you are fighting between yourselves, patients should not be the ones to suffer and this is actually the premise from which we are appealing to them to postpone whatever they had resolved to do,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.
Dr Parirenyatwa said Government was aware that the doctors were being taxed on unpaid claims. He said Minister Chinamasa who attended the meeting also promised to look into the issue.
“We are aware that doctors make their claims to health insurers but before they even receive their money, they are already taxed, but Minister Chinamasa who was also part of the meeting said he is going to sort that out,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.
Dr Parirenyatwa said the recent concern showed by President Mugabe during the burial of the late National Hero Dr Felix Muchemwa on the deadlock between the two parties was also a reflection of what the leadership feels about the whole issue.
Dr Parirenyatwa said the meeting also deliberated on provision of health services by health insurers.
“One of the biggest issues with medical aid societies is that of conflict of interest and that must be addressed.
“They should not channel patients to their institutions. A patient should be free to go wherever they want to go,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.
He said although there is not yet a common position because both parties would need to consult their constituencies, the doctors promised to feedback today on way forward regarding the July 1 deadline.
“They are going to consult and they are going to come back to me tomorrow (today) and thereafter we will know our way forward. But I think we had a very frank and very constructive discussion,” he said.
ZiMA president Dr Agnes Mahomva echoed Dr Parirenyatwa’s sentiments that patients should not suffer.
She said following the meeting with the Government officials, ZiMA will today meet with the national executive council and representatives from all affiliate associations from various medical disciplines to map a way forward.
“ZiMA is extremely grateful for the meeting we had with Government officials because those are the conversations we wanted. As we have indicated before, we are for the patient, we are not leaving any patients unattended and we have no intention of doing so. Every single patient will be seen.
“However, we do need to resolve this and after that big meeting we had with the Ministers, we are meeting as ZiMA tomorrow so that we re-look at it to make sure we continue with one position,” Said Dr Mahomva.
She said although the meeting with the Ministers did not come up with an agreement, ZiMA appreciates the opportunity given to it to air its problems.
Last week, ZiMA reaffirmed its position to stop accepting medical aid cards arguing that health insurers were not settling their claims on time and using the gazette tariffs.