The Health Practitioners Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has noted concerns expressed by healthcare professionals in relation to global fee and similar arrangements by medical schemes. These concerns relate to the protection of patient rights and limitations on professional autonomy, to be able to act in the best interest of patients.
The HPCSA wishes to remind healthcare professionals that funding models and agreements entered into by healthcare professionals should always be ethical and compliant with the law, as well as clinically sound.
“Professionals should ensure that they retain their professional autonomy and that there is no risk- or incentive of over- or under-servicing,” the organisation reports.
Further, it appears that there is a risk of contravention of some of the ethical rules of the HPCSA in such agreements, its implementation and application to patient care and professional autonomy.
Owing to the importance of ensuring cost-effective care, in a manner that protects patients and ensures appropriateness of care, the HPCSA will host roadshows to engage with healthcare professionals on these matters.
These roadshows will help canvass experiences and views, and chart a way forward. The organisation will also engage with the Department of Health, as well as the Council for Medical Schemes and other stakeholders on this important matter.
In light of this, the HPCSA urges healthcare professionals to defer entering into global fee or similar financial and clinical arrangements or contracts.
“Once all aspects relating to the law, ethics, clinical autonomy and funding mechanisms have been properly canvassed with all stakeholders, guidance will be provided.”
In the meantime, however, practitioners should adhere to the current ethical rules and the policies of the HPCSA.
In improving its business efficiencies, in March, the HPCSA launched an online portal for renewal of healthcare practitioners’ registration.
This portal is in line with the HPCSA’s strategic objective of improving performance and functionality, which will ultimately provide an efficient and effective service to practitioners.
Benefits of this portal include practitioners being able to renew registrations online, make annual fee payments, download electronic practitioner cards, as well as view, verify and confirm contact details.
This new system will provide a simpler and faster method for healthcare practitioners to renew their licences and update any information.
HPCSA’s website provides step-by-step guidelines on how to access and use the portal.
The HPCSA is a statutory body established in terms of the Health Professionals Act 56 of 1974.
The organisation is committed to protecting the public and guiding the professions through its mission of quality and equitable healthcare for all.
HPCSA is also mandated to regulate the health professions in the country in aspects pertaining to education, training and registration, professional conduct and ethical behaviour to ensure continuing professional development and fostering compliance with healthcare standards.
To safeguard the public and the professions, registrations in terms of the Act are a prerequisite for practising any of the health professions registered with the HPCSA.