The Government Employees Medical Scheme (Gems) says it never intended to block the release of the a report that found that between 2012 and 2019, the scheme was 80% more likely to identify black providers as having committed fraud, waste and abuse than their white counterparts.
Medscheme was 330% more likely to identify black providers as guilty of fraud, while Discovery’s likelihood sat at 35%.
This after an investigation by advocates Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, Adilla Hassim and Kerry Williams, who were appointed by the Council for Medical Schemes in 2019.
The report was made public on Tuesday after Gems lost a court interdict.
Gems has been given six weeks to study the report and provide formal comments on the way forward.
“Our intention was never to ‘block’ the release of the report, but to request that due processes be followed in ensuring that affected parties had a view of the report before it was released to the public.
“Gems has a zero-tolerance to all forms of discrimination and pledges to implement corrective action where such remedial interventions are required and as recommended by the Panel for the benefit of our members and healthcare providers.
“Gems has nothing to hide and have throughout the process cooperated with the panel to support in providing all information required for the panel to meet its obligations,” said Stanley Moloabi, principal officer of Gems.
Moloabi vowed to engage with healthcare providers to strengthen relationships and fix any loopholes.
“Gems remains committed to eradicate fraud, waste and abuse to ensure we sustain the scheme financially for the benefit of our members, the same way we are committed to ensuring that there is no unfair racial discrimination whether deemed to be intentional or due to flawed processes that we were blinded to,” said Moloabi.