An “Umbrella” of private healthcare service providers, comprising of the Medical Practitioner’s Group (MPG), Botswana Dental Association (BODEA) and the Optometrist Group, jointly broke ranks with the Botswana Medical Aid Society (BOMAID) when they handed over 139 signatures from their members, indicating that they will be ceasing to accept any patients belonging to BOMAID as long as they stuck to their prescribed tariffs.
This move was triggered by a letter written to individual service providers towards the end of last year asking them to either accept “A 6.5 percent increase on the 2011 consultation and procedure fees with effect from January 2012”.
The MPG had, however, recommended an increase by 20 percent and it stated in their statement that, “Tariff rates for private healthcare in Botswana are two to three times less than regional rates.”
Speaking at the joint press conference, after the handing over, the president of the MPG, Dr Anthony Sibiya, indicated that they are still expecting more signatures from private healthcare service providers. He further labeled BOMAID’s tactics as “intimidating,” considering that doctors had initially agreed to their terms; they pulled out later when they realized the intentions of the MPG.
The MPG, BODEA and the Optometrist Group also indicated that they want to introduce a balanced billing system.
In a recent interview, Constance Matabiswana, the General Manager ÔÇô Operation of BOMAID, had indicated to The Telegraph that their doctors had accepted what they were offering and even provided proof of a signed confirmation slip from a medical doctor in accordance with their prescribed “6.5 percent.”
Matabiswana further stated that they, as BOMAID, do not have any contractual agreement with MPG but rather with the individual doctors as a whole and stated that 98 percent of the doctors in Botswana had a contract with them.
Despite this tension, Dr Sibiya explained that there was still room for further negotiation from their part. However, the doctors now are requesting to meet with the board of Directors of BOMAID.
Also in conjunction with the pricing conflict, Dr Itumeleng Kalane, of the BODEA Tariff Committee, informed The Telegraph that Botsogo Health Plan, Pula Medical Aid and BPOMAS had blatantly declined to accept their offer of the balanced billing system or their proposed tariff increment.