Health dept doubtful about fees
The Gauteng department of health believes that recovery of at least 40 percent of the R426 million in outstanding patient fees is "doubtful", the department said on Monday.Verifying patient details
Steps taken to recover the money include having a credit bureau verify patient details because some patients avoid providing the correct details to evade payment.Legal action
Department spokeswoman Zanele Mngadi said they were also hand-delivering accounts to medical schemes where possible, were phoning debtors to remind them of the outstanding accounts, sending reminders to medical aids, and, as a final step, debts are handed over to the State Attorney to take legal action.
Mngadi said the amount of R426 million included outstanding fees from previous years.
"This figure is inclusive of all other previous years. Some 40% of the outstanding amount is doubtful in terms of collectability," she said.Lack of revenue skills
In reply to earlier questions from the Democratic Alliance (DA), the department said that reasons for outstanding accounts included settlement delays by medical schemes, the lengthy legal processes required for claims against the Road Accident Fund, and the lack of staff with revenue skills at hospitals.
The Johannesburg Hospital had the most outstanding accounts with R157.6 million owed.
In a statement the DA suggested outsourcing debt collection to private agencies. – (Sapa)Read more: