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Council for Medical Schemes announces probe into racial profiling

The Council for Medical Schemes announced on Monday that it has launched an investigation into allegations of racial profiling against black and Indian private medical practitioners by medical aids.

The CMS regulates private health financing though medical aid schemes.

In a statement, the council said that medical practitioners who were members of the National Health Care Professionals Association alleged they are being unfairly treated and their claims "withheld by medical aid schemes based on the colour of their skin and ethnicity". The NHCPA is a body that represents medical practitioners. It has argued that medical aid schemes are not paying medical practitioners what they owe them.

Its chairperson, Dr Donald Gumede made allegations of racial profiling against black and Indian private medical practitioners by medical aids, and told Radio 702 last week that medical aids were using "bullying tactics to extort money from healthcare professionals".

The council said the investigating team will consist of two doctors with a forensic background, a health actuary, a project manager, a medical ethics specialist, a legal specialist, a legal reform specialist, a forensic compliance specialist, a data analyst and a communication specialist.

The team will probe 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".

The probe will last four months.

Last week President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a separate investigation by the Special Investigating Unit into maladministration and the unlawful registration of health practitioners by the Health Professions Council of SA. The HPCSA, which says it welcomes the probe, regulates the registration, training and ethical behaviour of health practitioners.

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