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Compensation Fund Bill: Minister has ‘irrational hatred’ of third-party administrators

Despite all objections and against all reason, Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi has refused to abandon objectionable proposed amendments to the Compensation Fund regulations, writes labour law specialist Michael Bagraim for MedicalBrief.

The battle between Medical Service Providers (MSPs) and the embattled Compensation Fund (CF) about the new regulations that would spell the demise of third party administrators has raged for more than a year. The Bill has met with substantial public criticism and resistance. Last year, as reported in MedicalBrief, the Injured Workers’ Action Group (IWAG) called for the immediate withdrawal of the “catastrophic” regulations, saying they would have prejudicial consequences for medical service providers and vulnerable, injured workers.

Bagraim, who is also the Democratic Alliance’s Shadow Minister of Labour, has previously described the Compensation for Occupational Injuries & Diseases Amendment Bill as a “duplicitous attempt” to prevent the win-win intercession of third parties. It was, he wrote, the only thing that had made it possible for injured workers to receive good treatment and medical practitioners to receive payment from the “dysfunctional, disorganises and diseased” Compensation Fund.

Bagraim writes:

On Wednesday 30 March 2022, I attended a Portfolio Committee of Parliament convened for the Ministry of Employment and Labour. Minister Thulas Nxesi was trying to explain away the irrational hatred of the third party administrators helping the medical profession.

The minister described these third party administrators as “parasitic vested interests”. He went on to state that they only emerged because of the past inefficiency of the fund.

It was pointed out to the minister that this fund was, in fact, more inefficient than ever and that without the help of the third party administrators, the medical professionals would not receive their payments and would revert back to the initial position where no claimants would get private medical help.

It was explained to the minister that when the fund is able to answer the medical professionals and pay them efficiently, there will be no need for the medical professionals to employ third parties and take less than their normal fees. The minister did agree that the reason for the existence of the middle-man would fall away but he believed that the fund was now efficient.

The minister kept alluding to the fact there were unverified and inflated claims but when I challenged him to come forward with even one example of an inflated claim from a medical practitioner sent to a third party, this did not elicit an answer.

We are still in a situation where the minister refuses to withdraw the proposed amendments to the regulations, and this, in turn, will probably mean that the life of the third parties will come to an end and the medical profession, and workers, will suffer because of the non-payment.

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

SAMA: Compensation Fund changes will cause doctors to cease treatment

 

Compensation Fund gazetting: A reprieve or just electioneering?

 

Action group calls for withdrawal of ‘catastrophic’ Compensation Fund regulations

 

Only aspect of Compensation Fund that worked now ‘duplicitously' destroyed

 

 

 

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