Backtrack on doctors, dentists' prices
Publication of the contentious 2012 pricing guidelines for doctors and dentists has been put on hold, the Health Professions Council of SA says
“The delay in the publication was due to consideration of the reaction of the practitioners (and affected organisations), who accused the HPCSA of disregarding their input,” said HPCSA president Sam Mokgokong.
It was also a result of the threat of legal action by roleplayers in the health sector against the HPCSA, had it implemented the guidelines.
Mokgokong said the prospect of the debacle derailing the national health care delivery in the country also played a part.
The HPCSA said it was temporarily postponing the publication and that the distressed roleplayers would be given an opportunity to make presentations at a council meeting on September 3.
Various medical and dental associations threatened to take legal action against the statutory body if the publication of the guidelines was not halted.
On Tuesday, HPCSA Ombudsman Dr Abdul Wahab Barday said the guidelines had been formulated as a result of numerous complaints that practitioners were overcharging the public.
The SA Society of Anaesthesiologists (Sasa) welcomed the delay and applauded Mokgokgong’s intervention.
Sasa president Dr Hyla Kluyts said the organisation and other roleplayers had raised their concerns with the HPCSA at a meeting on Wednesday.
“Prof Mokgokgong obviously realised the (possible) negative implications on healthcare in South Africa,” said Kluyts.
The SA Medical Association (Sama) also welcomed the decision.
Acting chairman Mark Sondersup said the HPCSA had disregarded advice by basing the guidelines on the 2006 national health reference price list.
“We believe the HPCSA erred in drawing up their tariff guidelines by ignoring valid inputs that have been made. They omitted 1033 new treatment procedures,” said Sonderup.
On Tuesday, the HPCSA said it had used the 2006 price list — which was determined by the Council for Medical Schemes in conjunction with the national health department as a baseline — and had added an inflator of 46,66%.
In 2010, courts declared invalid the 2007 national health reference price list, which was based on the 2006 list. The 2012 guidelines are the first come up with since then.