The release of the report into whether medical schemes and medical administrators use racial profiling when investigating fraud by professionals has been indefinitely delayed, according to a Business Day report.
The investigation began in 2019 after a group of health workers accused medical administrators and medical schemes of investigating only black and Indian doctors and therapists for fraud and not white health workers. The hearings began in July 2019 and ended in January 2020.
The findings of the investigation were set to be released on 16 December, but just before the media conference, the investigating panel was told not to release it at the request of Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize as he was not aware of the findings.
The panel of advocates, consisting of senior counsel Adila Hassim, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi and Kerry Williams, then agreed to meet the Health Minister and the medical scheme regulator to discuss the findings. But the panel was not granted meetings with the Minister or Council for Medical Schemes, despite requests, and have now delayed the release of the report indefinitely.
Business Day previously reported that the cash-strapped medical schemes regulator spent R11.3m in unbudgeted funds on a high-profile investigation into allegations of racial profiling.
There have been suggestions that Mkhize was blocking the release of the report, but the Minister refutes that, according to Fin24. “He’s engaging the authors and is really wanting clarity, rather than any other thing; there is no intent to block the report,” said national Health Department spokesperson, Popo Maja.
Maja explained that the Minister was studying the report and engaging with the panel to clarify certain points and its release date and recommendations would be made public once he was done.
Full Business Day report (subscription needed)
Full News24 report
See also from MedicalBrief’s Archives:Cash-strapped medical schemes regulator spent R11.3m investigating race profiling
Discovery rebuttal of racial bias in fraud investigations
‘Widespread and consistent’ racial bias by top medical schemes
Inquiry told schemes may have missed ‘implicit racial bias’
In camera hearings granted at CMS inquiry into racial profiling
SAPPF: Evidence of ‘harassment’ of doctors but not racial profiling
NHCPA’s ‘racial profiling’ action thrown out in 2018, bounces back into CMS’s lap
Inquiry into claims of medical scheme racial profiling