Response to DH mental health payment letter

Dear colleague,

Many of you will have received a notice from Discovery Health recently and we have several letters of concern regarding the content thereof. Please take note of our position on this matter:

The CPF in conjunction with Counselling Psychology South Africa (CPSA) have been engaged in a single meeting on Thursday 6th August with DH around a “payment agreement” which they notified us of. Neither professional group has as yet agreed to this arrangement as there have been concerns around the detail. Concerns were submitted on 7th August and the letter of notification was drafted on Monday 10th August prior to any response from DH. To emphasize: We know no group who specifically stated that “Members of these psychologist representative groups explained to us that a prospective funding agreement, with simplified administration, would aid care by providing certainty of cover for those financially distressed at this time.”

We do not know of any other professional group who has agreed to the arrangement.

We do not know of any professional group who has specifically requested a “fast-track solutions for guaranteed, direct payment for chronic psychology patients”.

We remain concerned with several details and these include:

  • The requirement to provide “high level” outcomes information which so far CPF and all other professional groups to our knowledge have not been included in discussions around the purpose for this nor the form that this should take. CPF regards this provision of outcome information as a professional matter and not a medical insurance matter.
  • In addition there is pressure now for practitioners to start using the HealthID which we remain concerned about also in terms of what information may be apparent there for others to see. No practitioner is obliged to sign the document.
  • No practitioner is obliged to fill in the form. We also remind practitioners that they themselves remain responsible for their patient’s personal information regardless of whether it is handed over to a third party.
  • CPF are doubtful that patients can make informed decisions about allowing such information into the hands of a medical scheme and also that such information would be available to other healthcare providers. It is concerning that DH will take responsibility to “anonymise” such data.
  • The “stick approach” to urge practitioners to sign up by threatening a lower payment appears to be disingenuous.

CPF is following the matter up with the urgency it deserves and members will be kept informed.

Dr Linda ME Blokland
MA Clin Psych (SA); PhD (UP)