7 February 2018

Zimbabwe: Reprieve for PSMAS Clients

Doctors in Chinhoyi have scraped co-payment fees for patients using Premier Services Medical Aid Society. The development, hailed by both medical practitioners and PSMAS clients, comes after the medical aid provider met its obligations.

General medical practitioners were demanding co-payments of about $20 before attending to patients visiting their surgeries on the PSMAS scheme. Dr Samuel Mvurume, a neurologist who is one of the society's service providers, yesterday said they had since scrapped the co-payments after PSMAS cleared arrears. He hailed PSMAS' efforts in creating confidence in their services.

"PSMAS cleared some of its arrears in January and we have agreed on a payment plan, but I have no doubt that their commitment is forever," he said.

Dr Mvurume said the new political dispensation in Zimbabwe had improved business transactions in the medical fraternity in Zimbabwe. Dr Peter Matarutse also applauded efforts by PSMAS to clear its arrears since December last year.

"They paid me a significant amount which shows that they are committed. There is a great improvement because just imagine way back they would pay $1 000 or $2 000 when they will be owing you almost $300 000. Premier started paying me in December and they have been devoted since then," he said.

Dr Gift Masoja said he scrapped co-payments since he was now receiving his dues from PSMAS.

"I have been attending PSMAS clients without demanding any shortfalls because I have no complaints against the service provider as they have always remained steadfast in their payments," he said.

PSMAS spokesperson Mr Arthur Choga confirmed the latest developments, saying the organisation was committed to normalising relations with all its stakeholders.

"We have received immense support from stakeholders as we have pursued our turnaround. Member organisations have opened up to us and service providers have accepted our transparent approach to our outstanding issues. We appreciate any intervention that makes our members happy and this certainly does that. We will continue to engage all stakeholders until we achieve the highest level of service delivery," he said.

Mr Choga said the practice of co-payments had cost PSMAS members and hit hard on the market's confidence.

"However, as the turnaround gathers pace, we have put in strategies to service our debts and we have improved payment to our service providers and this scrapping of co-payments is pleasant recognition of our commitment," he said.

Contributors also hailed the move which has increased their options and made service more accessible. Co-payments are made by individuals holding health insurance when they seek services from private practitioners.

Their sizes may vary depending on the service, generally with low co-payments required for clinic visits and higher payments for other services such as those received in an emergency department.

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