Medical aid societies are calling for inclusion on the board of the proposed regulatory authority for their industry, the Association of Healthcare Funders of Zimbabwe (AHFoZ).
In a presentation on the draft Medical Aid Societies Bill during a consultative meeting hosted by the Ministry of Health and Child Care, AHFoZ criticised the fact that the Draft Bill gave health funders no voice in the constitution of the board and no representation on it.
On the other hand, health practitioners were given three representatives on the proposed board, suggested that 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 its own services, hospitals or specialist medical units.
There is, however, no justification for prohibiting a medical aid society from making a recommendation or giving an inducement in a manner that any competitor would.
AHFoZ also argued against annual registration renewal of existing funders, saying this creates uncertainty in organisations.
It said the Draft Bill did not create a lasting solution to the problem of fraudulent claims or offer solutions to the failure of employers to remit contributions to medical aid societies on time or at all.
AHFoZ also 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, according to AHFoZ.
AHFoZ members are also arguing that the proposed Bill did not leave room for service level agreements, saying it should acknowledge the existence of the AHFoZ and its residual regulatory powers already in existence in a number of areas.
The Secretary for Health and Child Care, Dr Gerald Gwinji invited AHFoZ and other medical aid societies’ representatives to propose amendments to sections of the Draft Bill.