Racial demographics of doctors not known by medical aids
The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) hauled medical aids over the coals on Wednesday after they admitted they do not know the racial demographics of the healthcare practitioners on their networks.
“Understanding our historical context‚ South Africans were segregated along racial lines. If you want to transform the industry‚ you still have to ascertain how many people are benefiting from our network.
“How many practitioners? How many females? How many black‚ coloured‚ Indian people are there in our network?” SAHRC Gauteng manager Buang Jones said.
He was speaking during the commission’s preliminary inquiry into alleged racial profiling of healthcare practitioners in Braamfontein‚ Johannesburg, on Wednesday.
This was after Discovery Health CEO Jonathan Broomberg said, during their submissions to the SAHRC, that they have no demographic breakdown of the roughly 35‚000 healthcare practitioners on their healthcare network.
“We don’t know the race profile of practitioners. We literally do not know. We don’t presume to look at a surname and decide that Mr Jones is black‚ white or coloured. We do not possess race information or gender information of our practitioners.”
Broomberg said they could only break down the numbers according to different types of doctors.
Jones said: “It’s really disappointing that Discovery doesn’t see it as important to have a demographic profile of healthcare practitioners who are part of their network so that, as the commission, we get to understand how many practitioners are benefiting from this network.”
The SAHRC held a preliminary hearing to investigate if it should launch a full inquiry into medical aid schemes. This follows claims that some black medical practitioners suspect that medical schemes are using coercion‚ unlawful investigations and other means to hold them ransom before they are paid out.
Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS) principal officer Dr Gunvant Goolab said during testimony: “There is no race recorded on the GEMS systems … We receive the information from the Board of Healthcare [Funders of Southern Africa].”
Medscheme CEO Anthony Pedersen also confirmed: “We do not have that information stored on the system.”