Private hospitals shelve proposed tariff hikes
Paidamoyo Chipunza, Senior Health Reporter
Representatives of the two parties met in Harare last week and agreed to resume negotiations in two months.
“Yes, we met but no decision was taken,” said Private Hospitals Association of Zimbabwe (PHAZ) secretary Mr Keith Kalweit.
Asked about other private institutions that already effected fare increases before a common tariff was reached, Mr Kalweit said it was their individual decision.
Association of Healthcare Funders of Zimbabwe (AHFoZ) chief executive Mrs Shylet Sanyanga also confirmed that negotiations were deferred until the economy takes a clear course.
“The hope is that by then, employers may be better placed to entertain discussions on contribution increases,” she said.
PHAZ is proposing to increase medical costs by at least 25 percent.
Although this proposal was yet to be adopted as a common tariff agreed by both parties as stipulated by the law, some institutions in Harare and Bulawayo had already raised charges since the beginning of the month. For example, general practitioner’s consultation fees were increased to $45 from $25, thereby forcing patients to pay a co-payment of $20. In Bulawayo, some institutions increased medical costs by 20 percent across all their health services.
Ordinary consultation fees went up to $44,10 from $36,75 while emergency consultations such as accident victims are now required to pay $64,26 up from $53,55.
Pregnant women are now paying $115,92 for single normal delivery.
According to PHAZ, the increase was necessitated by the continued shortage of foreign currency in the country and the need to also match salaries of their staff with those in the public health sector.
Medical aid societies and health service providers are expected to agree on a common medical tariff so that patients on medical aid do not pay co-payments or shortfalls.
For years, the two parties have been failing to agree on a common tariff, resulting in instigation of a scientific tariff-work that is still in progress.