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Private healthcare report: Various role players colluded to rob consumers

The commission’s inquiry has found that health practitioners had been sending patients to private hospitals unnecessarily, just because medical schemes would pay.

Picture: Unsplash.com

JOHANNESBURG - The Competition Commission has called for a new regulator to be established to keep health funders, facilities and practitioners in check.

The commission on Monday released its report into private healthcare. The commission’s inquiry has found that health practitioners had been sending patients to private hospitals unnecessarily, just because medical schemes would pay.

It also found that various role-players had been colluding to rob consumers.

Professor Sharon Fonn said: “Our Caesarean sections in South Africa are through the roof. It’s 300% higher. Of course, the individual pays for it, but it pushes up the package of care so all pay more.”

The inquiry has recommended that a supply-side health regulator be established to manage a multilateral price negotiating forum and set prices that no medical scheme or service provider will go above for prescribed minimum benefits.

Dr Ntuthuko Bhengu said they would address pricing in the medical sector.

“Our approach is that there will be three levels for pricing. The first level is the unilateral negotiation forum which caters for practitioners. The second level is the bilateral negotiation while the third will be focused on provider networks.”

The inquiry has recommended that prices be reviewed every three years.

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