Gauteng health cuts debt by R3.4-billion
THE Gauteng health department has cut down the amount of money owed to service providers from R3.6-billion to R196-million.
In a recent interview withSowetan health MEC Hope Papo said his department had saved R3.4-billion, which would have been paid for unverified services. There are currently 2900 invoices worth R196-million that are waiting to be cleared.
"Currently we are sitting with R196-million worth of queried invoices, which hospital CEOs and managers must clear and ascertain whether or not those services were rendered. That process is ongoing, and we hope to clear them by the end of this month before payments can be made."
As part of the department's turnaround strategy Papo said they had decided on a total withdrawal of the use of manual orders, which made the bulk of the R3.6-billion claims, in favour of electronic ones. He said manual orders were open to abuse and delayed processing of payments.
Last month Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi told Sowetan Gauteng was among the worst provinces with payment backlogs. Ironically, former health MEC Ntombi Mekgwe had announced earlier that her department had paid all its creditors on time, which later proved to be false.
Papo also said plans were being made to address the issue of broken CAT scans at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital. The six scans have been broken for months, resulting in cancer patients having to wait for up to five months to be examined. But five of the six scans have since been fixed.
Charlotte Maxeke CEO Barney Salabano confirmed that they had started contacting patients to come and be scanned.
DA Gauteng health spokesman Jack Bloom welcomed the plans to solve the problem of unpaid service providers.
"It's a move in the right direction, but we still need a situation in which companies are paid within 30 days, which is the law," Bloom said.
" The disputed payments must also be resolved."