State doctors have raked in R151m by colluding with their moonlighting colleagues and legal private practitioners in claiming from medical aid when treating patients in public hospitals.
The Mercury reports that this is the latest revelation showing the extent of corruption by 407 full-time KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health employees.
Health department spokesperson Desmond Motha said that some of these offenders were among 22 employees who had offered to pay back R2.9m after they had been found guilty of moonlighting.
The department wanted the doctors to pay back R15m of the R151m they had claimed from medical aid schemes while using state facilities to treat patients.
“Patients would be transferred from a private practice to a government hospital for treatment. But when they claimed from medical aid, they would claim as if the patient had been treated at a private practice, and share the profit. Government equipment was used for private practice (work),” he said.
He said medical aid companies had been alerted to the scheme, and some of them had pledged to take action against this illegal practice. “While disciplinary inquiries for a total of 407 health-care professionals within the department have commenced, it has been noted that five of the employees have since resigned and four cases have been registered with the SAPS for criminal investigation – the defrauding of medical aid schemes,” said a statement from the department.
Health employees who had been moonlighting included doctors, nurses and clerical workers. According to the Public Service Act, none of them were allowed to do private jobs without written permission from the department.
The department found that there had been 157 health employees who owned companies that were doing business with government departments, and they had pocketed R82.1m. The department would recover R9.8m from them.Full report in The Mercury