Healthcare findings postponed again after hitting more hurdles
The Competition Commission is delaying the publication of its findings as Netcare, Mediclinic and Life Healthcare raise objections and KPMG’s objectivity is called into question
The Competition Commission has announced a further delay in the publication of its findings into its healthcare market inquiry, citing procedural objections raised by SA’s three biggest private hospital groups Netcare, Mediclinic and Life Healthcare.
Stakeholders had also challenged the objectivity of KPMG’s profitability analysis of these hospital groups and medical scheme administrators, it said.
As a result, its provisional report is now slated for publication by the end of April 2018, and the deadline for its final report has been extended until the end of next August. It will publish a series of analytical reports by December 8, and allow interested parties until January 31 to comment.
"The health market inquiry is aware of the public interest in the outcome of this inquiry and regrets these further delays in the publication of its provisional report. The Panel (has taken steps) to reassure stakeholders as to the integrity of the process and to prevent any further delay that may result from legal disputes," it said in a statement last week.
The inquiry was set up to probe the nature of the private healthcare market, and establish whether there are barriers to effective competition and patients’ access to care. It was originally due to publish its interim report last August, with a final report and recommendations due by mid-December, but then extended these deadlines by a year due to delays in obtaining data from medical schemes and private hospitals.
The inquiry said last week that Netcare, Mediclinic and Life Healthcare felt it would be procedurally unfair for it to publish its provisional report without them having had an opportunity to scrutinise the underlying data and relevant analysis reports.
These hospital groups and medical scheme administrator Discovery Health had also requested further access to the confidential data that underpinned the preliminary analysis documents published by the inquiry at the end of 2016, as they were not satisfied with the access provided so far, it said.
The inquiry said it had consulted the stakeholders concerned, its own data experts, and had sought external legal advice on the issues raised. It had consequently decided to grant stakeholders further access to the confidential data and underlying analysis.
The inquiry said it had met KPMG to discuss the concerns raised by stakeholders. "The inquiry received assurances that none of the KPMG employees and/or contractors implicated in the matters investigated by KPMG International were in any way, directly or indirectly, involved in the work undertaken for the inquiry," it said in a statement.
It said KPMG’s experts would be available for the affected stakeholders to verify the information it had provided to the inquiry.