Doctors Told Not To Hike Fees

GOVERNMENT has warned errant medical specialists not to proceed with the exorbitant pricing of health services.

By Kudakwashe Pembere

Health and Child Care Secretary Dr Agnes Mahomva in a statement said this was unfair.

“The Ministry is greatly concerned with the unilateral increase of tariffs by the Physician Association of Zimbabwe following the announcement of the SI 142 of 2019. This amounts to unfair practice by providers to members in terms of the Medical Services (Medical Aid Societies) (Amendment) Regulations, 2004,” she said.

She explained that the Act forbids any amount that was not agreed on between the Health Minister, the Association of Health Care Funders for Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Medical Association.

“According to these regulations. it is deemed unfair practice when a health care provider demands from any person any payment by way of consultation fee or deposit or other similar payment howsoever described in excess of

“(a) The amount agreed between the association recognised by the Minister as representing the interest of medical aid societies, AHFoZ in this case and the body recognised as representing interest of providers, Z1MA or its affiliate in this case. Or

“(b) The amount specified by the minister in the gazette, in the absence of an agreement between the funders and providers association,” Dr Mahomva said.

Dr Mahomva added, “Given the above explanation the Ministry is advising all health care providers who intend to increase tariffs to follow the existing prescribed process.”

Health Secretary’s statement comes as a reaction barely a week after the National Physicians Association announced a shocking expensive fees structure.

The Association announced the new charges for different health services with new fees ranging from $900 to $3 750.

Zimbabweans woke up to a new shocking fee structure for different health services provided by a group of specialist doctors with the new fees ranging from $900 to $3 750.

The Association noted that patients approaching any of the specialists for the first time at their rooms will now be charged ZW$1 800.

The doctors will also require a further ZW$1 050 from the same patient on his next visit for review.

Should the specialist visit a patient in a medical facility, he or she should fork out ZW$1 800 for each visit the doctor pays for the first four days and ZW$1 200 from day five going forward.

Patients will only pay ZW$900 per day if they spend at least two weeks in admission.

Worse yet, patients with critical conditions such as those in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and High Dependency Unit (HDU) will cough up ZW$3 750 for the doctor to attend to them for the first time.

From day two to day four, the same patient will be required to pay additional ZW$2 250 each day and ZW$1 500 each day from day five going forward.

“In light of the recent announcement of SI 142 introducing the Zimbabwean dollar as the sole legal tender, the NaPAZ executive met today (26 June) and agreed on the following,

“To transition from the multi-currency based tariffs to Zimbabwe dollar based tariffs,” reads part of the circular from the specialists’ Association.

Although this new fee structure was said to be effective immediately, the Association slated Saturday July 6 as a day for a consultative meeting with its members.

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