The release of a final report from a Section 59 investigation into racial discrimination by medical schemes may be delayed.
On Tuesday, the panel afforded impacted schemes a period of six weeks to study the report and thereafter provide formal comments based on the interim findings.
The Health Funders Association (HFA) said on Wednesday that it would be making submissions to the panel, to seek clarity on their (panel’s) reasons for discounting the presence of confounding factors.
This was shortly after the Government Employees Medical Scheme (Gems) released a statement saying that it would also be using the period to closely study the full report’s findings, and the recommendations of the panel to establish a way forward
The panel has found that there was indirect discrimination in the outcomes of the fraud, waste, and abuse processes despite there being no explicit or intentional bias.
“HFA will be seeking clarity from the panel on their reasons for discounting the presence of confounding factors [additional variables in cause-and-effect relationships] which may account for the outcomes,” reads HFA’s statement.
“An example of a confounding variable is where a higher incidence of smoking in males results in a higher incidence of lung cancer in males, rather than the cause being gender. In submissions to the panel, it was demonstrated that confounding factors may reduce the race differential almost completely.”
“We, therefore, welcome the panel’s intention for further constructive engagement on the findings and recommendations of the report in the interest of a unified industry.”