PSMAS plans to deviate further from core business

The Herald

Herald Reporter

Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) has mooted a plan to ratify deviation from their core mandate of healthcare service provision at their annual General meeting (AGM) pencilled for June 30, internal sources have said.

Stakeholders of the entity have said the company should remain within its mandate and core business of ensuring they deliver adequate healthcare in accordance with their mandate considering first the needs of their clients as well as those of their workers.

Allegations are that senior management and board members have diversified and continue to diversify business interests as a way of creating financial flows that benefit the few top executives and their cronies at the expense of their client base.

Although a forensic audit was prescribed for PSMAS earlier in the year, progress on that front is proving to be dragging. Internal sources claim the AGM set for next week will seek to advance narrow interests leaving members out in the cold without adequate health insurance cover.

“An AGM has been fast-tracked at PSMAS so that they ratify deviating from their core mandate paving way to diversify into other sectors,” said a source who requested anonymity.

“This is against the founding principles of PSMAS. Again a forensic audit should be done but the meeting is to be used as a vehicle to deviate from this so that illicit deals of management are concealed.

“The agenda of the meeting is out and none of it speaks to the concerns of stakeholders who have raised several concerns, the stakeholders include customers who have seen the value of the PSMAS card losing its worth and being turned away at health facilities.

“Workers have their concerns as well; The resources we get mostly from Government meant to cater for the health needs of the civil service are being channelled towards the welfare of top management only.

“The government requested that the rot be addressed but none of it is catered in the said agenda,” said the source.

Challenges at PSMAS follow the short changing of clients by failing to provide on their mandate despite customers mostly civil servants being up to date with their remittances, and in some cases their medical aid being turned away by several healthcare service providers.

The situation was exacerbated recently with complaints that they were defaulting from their fiscal obligations to workers like timeous payments of salaries, renewing from paying some allowance, while being accused of channelling the bulk of its resources to management welfare.

Leading to the recent downing of tools by workers recently at Premier Service Medical Investments (PSMI) which disrupted service delivery. What is irking stakeholders is that at the planned AGM, the organization intends to install a board of trustees at the top of its structure, a move that is being seen as worsening the situation for its members.

“This will just make the situation worse because in addition to other structures and entities they already established which serve to divert funds from their core business, they want to add yet another structure and layer which will further drain and divert funds,” an insider said. .

Another factor which has further raised the ire of some interested parties is that of the agenda of the planned AGM.

“The agenda of the AGM reads more like a gimmick. Some matters that will be discussed later, will already be pre-empted by those discussed earlier. As if that is not enough, the meat of the discussions or the potentially contentious matters to be discussed at the AGM have been tucked into the AOB part of the meeting. Yet those matters are what actually forms the crux of the matters, ”said a highly placed source. “It’s as if the agenda is designed to hoodwink.”

Reports say the company has diversified into other areas such as mining and insurance, a flagrant disregard of the entity’s founding objectives.

The introduction of co-payments in April, as PSMAS battled to manage its hollowed out accounts ruffled the feathers of members as this meant that their access to healthcare was compromised.

Government – the major stakeholder of PSMAS, contributing over 80 percent of the company’s revenue through remittances of its employees in the public service is on record that the tomfoolery at PSMAS has to end.

The need for requesting co-payment to workers was also blasted and stakeholders implored the company that the service providers accepting the PSMAS card should get their remittances as well.

Money that comes from Government should be used in accordance with the founding principles of the organization.

The advocacy in the company should be on behalf of the workers, the institution in so far as it is playing their primary role which is providing access to healthcare.

The Government says that the equivalent of US $ 5 million a month it pays towards civil servants’ contributions must be used to retire debt and ensure that civil servants can access medical care with PSMAS cards.

The government also says that while it is paying an equivalent of US $ 5 million per month to PSMAS towards civil servants’ contributions, they are struggling to access healthcare as their medical aid cards are being turned down due to non-payment to service providers.

Diverting from the core business has seen PSMAS investing in micro-finance, the buying and selling of gold, extending the Society beyond borders and creating additional institutions that draw funds from the Society’s core business of health care service provision.

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