Alert over trustee services

Isaac Moledi

Isaac Moledi

Limiting the trustee service to a maximum of six years in the current Medical Schemes Amendment Bill will rob these schemes of the willing and able trustees, Profmed Medical Scheme's Graham Anderson says.

While welcoming the bill's efforts to improve governance and reduce conflicts of interest among the boards of trustees, Anderson raised concerns about a clause in the June 2008 version of the proposed bill that limits a trustee's period of service to no longer than six years.

This, he said, mighty leave some medical schemes without institutional memory and trustees who are versed in the issues affecting the scheme.

This, he says, will result in many schemes having most trustees resign if the bill is passed in its current form.

He called on the Health Department to be aware of the severe shortage of people that are willing and have the necessary expertise to serve as trustees.

Anderson says alternative measures must be sought to address the conflicts of interest issues in boards without necessarily limiting the service term.

He said that Profmed was relatively comfortable with the new legislation because its trustees are drawn from a well-educated pool of members, many of whom are practising doctors.

Despite this it takes at least two years for new trustees to become familiar with the industry, the legislative environment in which the scheme operates, the role players and the broader issues affecting private healthcare.

Profmed is a restricted medical scheme open to professionals with a minimum of a four-year degree.