Legal eagle Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi will head an investigation into alleged discrimination against black and Indian medical professionals in the private health sector, the Council on Medical Schemes (CMS) said on Tuesday.
The investigation was launched following allegations by members of the National Health Care Professionals Association (NHCPA) that they were being unfairly treated and their claims withheld by medical aid schemes based on the colour of their skin and ethnicity.
"The CMS believes that Advocate Ngcukaitobi, who is a respected legal mind, will help go to the root of the allegations of racial profiling, black listing for payments, blocked payments, demands of confidential clinical information, bullying and harassment, coercion, entrapment and use of hidden cameras,” said Sipho Kabane, CEO and registrar of CMS.
"According to Section 59 of the Medical Schemes Act, the CMS’s mandate is to protect members of the public, take any appropriate steps which it deems necessary. Our mandate is to measure the quality and outcomes of relevant health-care services by medical schemes, and to investigate complaints and settle disputes in relation to the affairs of medical schemes as provided for in the Medical Schemes Act."
Written submissions will be received until the end of the month and thereafter, interviews and public hearings will be held from July to September. The final report on the investigation is expected on November 1.
Ngcukaitobi will be assisted by two other advocates, Adila Hassim and Kerry Williams.