Johannesburg - The Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA)
has issued tariff guidelines for medical professionals, to protect patients
from being overcharged, according to a report on Wednesday.
Business Day reported that the HPCSA published the document
to give the public estimates of what medical and dental procedures should cost.
"It is hoped that this new guideline will empower
patients to understand what they will be charged for... treatments and
procedures in a transparent manner...," said HPCSA spokesperson Bertha
It would also provide guidance for practitioners, so that
their patients could be forewarned of the prices of treatments and not accuse
the medical fraternity of unethically overcharging them.
The HPCSA had no mechanism in place to weigh up consumer
complaints over high bills, since its "ethical tariff" guide was
shelved in 2008.
The committee which determined the new set of tariffs had
used the National Health Reference Price List of 2006, and had adjusted these
prices for inflation.
While the tariffs did not set limits on what doctors,
dentists and specialists could charge for their services, patients would be
able to make an informed decision based on the guide.
"They can 'shop around' for the best price or decide
they are willing to pay an amount higher than the tariff guideline by signing a
consent form," Scheepers said.View medical practitioners guidelines and dental practitioners guidelines.
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