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Mediclinic News : Free state mulls exiting Netcare partnership

Title

Free state mulls exiting Netcare partnership

Date

2016-05-19

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News Description

BUSINESS DAY The Free State health department is considering an early exit from its public-private partnership (PPP) with Netcare. This emerged on Wednesday when an official made submissions to the Competition Commission’s health market inquiry. The Universitas-Pelonomi Hospital public-private partnership in Bloemfontein is one of the few JSE-listed Netcare has been able to establish in SA. It has two others in the Eastern Cape. The concession for the Universitas-Pelonomi PPP, established in 2002, is due to end in 2022. It was intended to improve the use of government resources and generate income for both parties. Extra revenue accruing to the Free State health department was to have been used to improve services for public-sector patients. Marcus Molokomme, chair of the department’s private facilities advisory committee, said: "There are a lot of lessons we learnt from this PPP." It would cost about R400m to exit the contract early, taking into account penalty fees and legal costs, he said. A review commissioned from KPMG in 2010 had raised several areas of concern, he said. Molokomme said the Netcare contract had introduced unforeseen complications, with the billing arrangements for private-sector patients requiring radiology services, to the financial detriment of the department. Clinicians prioritised private patients who "jumped the queue", and the contract had created "fertile ground" for abuse of the province’s policy for remunerative work outside the public service, he told the inquiry. "We are still struggling with this beast. You never know where they (doctors) are in the PPP," he said. The remunerative work policy allows doctors whose salaries are paid by the government to do additional work in the private sector. The system has been abused partly because provincial health departments have struggled to keep tabs on doctors’ hours. Molokomme said the abuse was widespread in the Free State and the department had tried to halt it in 2013, but was stopped by a legal challenge brought by doctors. Netcare spokeswoman Marietjie Shelly said the PPP had delivered better patient care and retention of academics. Netcare had studied the KPMG report and concluded its findings were "largely baseless and spurious in nature". "We would welcome the opportunity to present our report in this regard to the (health market inquiry)," she said.
Created at 2016/05/23 06:00 PM by Mediclinic
Last modified at 2016/05/23 06:00 PM by Mediclinic