Home > Medical schemes > General info 19 March 2013 Fraud in SA healthcare system Medical fraud costs in SA are estimated to be between R3 billion and R15 billion. 2 Pin It Like us on Facebook » Subscribe to the newsletter » Ask CyberDoc » Quiz How long will you live? » Medical history Bacteria gallery The majority of healthcare professionals are skilled, honest and work hard to provide high quality healthcare for their patients. Only a small percentage of providers, members and other parties commit fraud and other abuses which impact negatively on our healthcare system.Discovery Health has a zero tolerance approach to fraud and uses sophisticated data analytics and the latest technology to identify fraudulent behaviour.Collaboration is keyStatistics shared at the recent Board of Healthcare Funders conference on fraud estimated total fraud costs in the South African healthcare system at approximately R22 billion each year. There are no accurate statistics for the South African private healthcare system. International data suggests that losses to healthcare fraud and abuse may account for between 3% and 15.4% of claims paid - with an average of approximately 7%. Applying these estimates to South Africa is likely to give a more realistic picture, suggesting that fraud costs may vary between R3 billion and R15 billion each year. In our view, the actual costs of fraud in South Africa’s private healthcare system are probably closer to the lower end of this range, says Dr Jonathan Broomberg, CEO of Discovery Health, and the estimate of R22bn seems extremely high and is unlikely to be accurate.“These costs are clearly disturbing and alarming, particularly if we understand that the true cost of healthcare fraud is in the lost opportunity for investment in members’ genuine healthcare needs, and in rewarding skilled health professionals adequately for their scarce and valued skills, and for their care of patients”. “The increasing incidence of fraud undoubtedly contributes to the cost pressures in our healthcare system, and ultimately affects all medical scheme members, health professionals and the economy at large.Zero tolerance approachFor this reason, all stakeholders, including members, health professionals, and funders should take a zero tolerance approach to fraud, and should also work closely together to fight these trends. Discovery Health commits substantial resources to fighting fraud, and uses the latest big data analytics, as well as its own proprietary forensic software algorithms, to identify and prevent incidents of fraud. Broomberg said, “Discovery Health views fraud as a serious criminal offence and we work hard every day to curb this trend. We intervene wherever we identify fraud, and act both to recover monies owed to the medical schemes we are responsible for, as well as to report perpetrators to the relevant authorities. In 2012, we recovered over R250m in fraudulent claims for the schemes under our management.Broomberg said, “It is also very important to emphasise that the vast majority of healthcare professionals are skilled, honest and ethical, and work hard every day to provide high quality healthcare for their patients. Only a small percentage of providers commit fraud and other abuses, and in many cases, fraud is committed by criminal syndicates or individuals other than health professionals. The media reports on the BHF conference created the impression that corruption and fraud are widespread amongst healthcare professionals. This is inaccurate and unfair, and this impression must be corrected”. Discovery Press Release More in Medical schemes 20 claims schemes will not pay More: Medical schemesGeneral info advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 2 comments Add your comment Thank you, your comment has been submitted. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Other news Medical Popular hair treatment linked to cancer Parenting Size of foetus affects stillbirth risk Lifestyle High-fat diets linked to breast cancer Lifestyle Teen aeroplane stowaway recovering in hospital Lifestyle Aids Healthcare Foundation to build clinic in SA Medical New kind of trial will speed cancer drug development From our sponsors Momentum Health OatWell Dual Cross Is being overweight or obese dangerous? Tips to keep your immunity strong this winter Smile your way to better health Live healthier Strenghten your immunity » Keep your immunity strong Immune system boosters Boost your family's immunity 5 immune boosters in your kitchen You don’t need a handful of vitamins and supplements to keep your body healthy, check out these five immune boosting foods you probably already have in your kitchen. Laugh a little » Eat yourself happy Laugh more and live longer Laughing yoga the best medicine The healing power of laughter A good chuckle doesn't only make you feel happy for a moment, it's beneficial to your health too.