RIGHT TO BE HEARD: A patient’s agonising hospital experience

RIGHT TO BE HEARD: A patient’s agonising hospital experience

Mrs Loveness Chileka
I have been a civil servant for years now and, therefore, subscribe to Premier Service Medical Aid Society.
A couple of months ago, I fell ill, but Psmas did little to help.
It was nearly impossible to get prompt treatment and drugs, and I hear that that is the situation with members of one private medical aid society.
Some say Psmas is on the rebound, but I’m yet to be convinced.
I was admitted at its West End Hospital in Harare for only a day, and was charged over US$1 000 for bedding and thousands of dollars for surgery.
I could not pay the bills as hospital authorities told me that my medical aid cover had been exhausted.
Psmas did not intervene in spite of my appeals to them.
My family and relatives had no option, but to scrounge around for money so that I could be transferred to a Government institution.
One wonders where all our monthly contributions go to. It’s clear from what is happening now that Psmas and other healthcare funders wandered off course years ago.
And it appears a number of them are concentrating on providing healthcare services and buying property instead of focusing on health insurance.
Several people I have spoken to say this could be the root cause of the problems between medical aid societies and healthcare providers.
It is, therefore, not surprising that such funders refuse or delay payments for members who visit alternative medical facilities.
I, for one, am confused by the Health and Child Care Ministry’s conflicting pronouncements.
One moment we hear that Government has said no one should pay cash upfront, the next moment medical aid subscribers are being asked to pay cash.
In my view, the ministry hasn’t been firm enough.
I venture to say some people in that ministry could be interested parties and so find it difficult to implement their own pronouncements.
Some medical laboratories in Harare have notices informing Cimas and Psmas members to pay cash for all services due to the on-going wrangle between health service providers and funders.
Government must act.
All parties should sit down and discuss the way forward because the patient is suffering.
Talks, talks and more talks will not produce resolution.

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