Private hospitals are demanding cash deposits of at least $250 from patients on medical aid before rendering treatment, a situation that has seen health funders calling for Government intervention.
Addressing delegates attending this year’s Association of Healthcare Funders of Zimbabwe conference taking place in Victoria Falls, the association’s chief executive officer, Mrs Shylet Sanyanga, said cash deposits were unfair as they disadvantaged patients.
Mrs Sanyanga said Government should urgently act on the matter by banning casualty units from demanding cash.
“May I appeal to the Honourable Minister to intervene on the issue of demanding cash deposits of $250 at casualty units. These deposits are unjustified and inconvenience patients,” she said.
Mrs Sanyanga said the hospitals claim that they collect these deposits on behalf of specialist doctors who demand cash upfront before they render their services.
“This is unfair, to say the least, and we are saying cash deposits at hospitals must go because it defies the whole logic of health insurance,” she said.
She said private hospitals have forced patients to look for cheaper options such as going outside the country for treatment in countries such as Malawi, Zambia and South Africa, despite the inconveniences of being hospitalised in a foreign land.
In an interview, Private Hospitals Association of Zimbabwe chairperson Mrs Merrisa Kambani said cash deposits were affecting casualty sections.
“Doctors are professionals in their own right and how they choose to charge their products is not the hospital’s business; we are simply implementing co-operation of this service we have to give to our clients,” she said. herald