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Discovery Health responds to NHCPA's spying claims

Discovery Health says its aware of claims by the National Health Care Professionals Association.

FILE: A nurse takes a patient's blood pressure in hospital. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Discovery Health says its aware of claims by the National Health Care Professionals Association (NHCPA) that medical aid schemes are using underhanded tactics against doctors.

The Sunday Times reported that the schemes have been using spies and hidden cameras to expose fraudulent claims.

NHCPA president Dr Donald Gumede says this amounts to invasion of privacy, especially for patients.

"Why are they not reporting criminals to the police? Why call me to your offices to extort money from me?"

Gumede says that medical aids have no jurisdiction to act in this way.

"They have become the police officers, prosecutors, judges and prison warders."

He says the NHCPA has asked the courts for clarity on whether medical aids can withhold payments without proving allegations of misconduct.

Discovery says that it is the responsibility of all schemes and their administrators to deal strictly with fraud and corruption and to ensure that any misappropriated funds are returned to the medical scheme for the benefit of its members.

The medical aid scheme says that it recovers over R400 million each year and premiums would be significantly higher than they are in the absence of this.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)