If you’re a black or non-white doctor in SA accused of fraud, you’re more likely to be found guilty than your white colleagues. A damning report by the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS), which regulates medical schemes in SA, has found that black medical practitioners were 1.4 times more likely to be found guilty of fraud, waste or abuse, than their white colleagues.
Business Day reports that the investigation looked at fraud investigations by the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS), Discovery Health, and Medscheme, and found that black professionals were being unfairly targeted.
On Sunday, GEMS, the country’s biggest medical scheme for public servants, and the Board of Healthcare Funders’ (BHF), an industry association for medical schemes and administrators, lost their legal bid to stop the release of the interim report.
The word “interim” is important, because the medical schemes haven’t had a chance to comment on the report yet, so the findings could change. It’s also important to point out that the report’s conclusions were based on the outcomes of the fraud investigations, and the CMS didn’t find anything racist about the processes that the medical schemes were using in their investigations.
Nevertheless, the interim report is a victory for black doctors who have complained that they’re unfairly targeted.
Judging by this report, it’s clear that it’s time we took racism out of medicine.
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