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NHI will cover Health Market Inquiry recommendations – Crisp

The Health Department has defended its failure to implement the recommendations of the competition commission’s Health Market Inquiry (HMI), saying many of the issues identified in the organisation’s final report will be dealt with when National Health Insurance (NHI) is in place.

The inquiry spent five years investigating the private healthcare market and published its final report in September 2019, making far-reaching recommendations aimed at improving competition and giving patients a better deal, a BusinessLIVE report notes. It said at the time that a better-regulated private sector was vital if the government was to purchase services from private healthcare providers under NHI.

Health officials had considered how the HMI’s recommendations fit with the government’s plans for NHI and concluded some were unfeasible, said Nicholas Crisp, the department’s deputy director-general for NHI.

“For instance, they recommend implementing a Schedule 3A public entity supply-side regulator. Well, that’s exactly the role of NHI, to be the supply-side regulator for the whole system,” Crisp said. “It would be superfluous to have another Schedule 3A public entity just to regulate the private sector while we are waiting to create the NHI.”

Creating a Schedule 3A public entity was not straightforward, as it required an Act of Parliament, he added.

The supply-side regulator was central to the inquiry’s recommendations and was intended to oversee multilateral tariff negotiations between healthcare practitioners and medical schemes. It was also to take on the responsibilities of advising on best practice, issuing facility licences and practice numbers, and liaising with a new body to monitor the quality of care, known as the Outcomes Monitoring and Reporting Organisation.

These were all elements that formed part of NHI, said Crisp. “Why would we do a separate outcomes measurement for the private sector when it is part of what we are doing in the NHI,” he said at a press conference this week.


BusinessLIVE – Health department says NHI will deal with issues raised by market inquiry

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