Department steps up efforts to collect R1.1 billion owed in patient fees
8 Aug 2012
Gauteng Health MEC Hope Papo says his department has stepped up efforts to collect patient fees owed by the medical aids, state organs, and other government departments.
A sum totalling more than R450 million has been collected from April to date. The bulk of the money was collected from the Road Accident Fund which paid more than R360 million. Medical schemes have paid more than R86 million and R200 million is still outstanding. Payments have been received from the provincial governments of Limpopo, North West, and Mpumalanga. The SA Police Services, Correctional Services and the Justice Department have also made payments.
The department has set itself a target of collecting R1.1 billion of the R2 billion it is owed in outstanding patient fees in the 2012/13 financial year. About R907 million may not be recoverable because it is owed by indigent patients, untraceable patients because of incorrect addresses, or by medical aids schemes that have been liquidated and by road accident fund patients that are untraceable.
MEC Hope Papo said the department has enlisted the services of Alexander Forbes and Medikredit to assist in the collection of outstanding patient fees. A joint team has been established to reconcile and clear all outstanding claims owed by the Road Accident Fund before September 2012.
A big slice of the money (about 50%) owed to the department is for services rendered by the four central hospitals, Steve Biko, Dr George Mukhari, Charlotte Maxeke and Chris Hani Baragwanath. This is because these hospitals offer specialised services and are used as referral centres to treat more complicated health problems.
MEC Papo said the department is now considering charging interest on outstanding patient fee debts. Currently the department is prevented by national treasury regulations from levying interest on outstanding patient fees. The national Department of Health has approached the national treasury to grant the department permission to charge interest. A response from the national treasury is awaited.
Cell: 082 551 9892
Issued by: Gauteng Health
8 Aug 2012
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