By Nuusita Ashipala

Ongwediva — The state-owned medical aid, Public Service Medical Aid Scheme (PSEMAS), is in the process of introducing biometric cards to identify its members and to eliminate fraud.

The biometric cards are part of the ongoing PSEMAS reforms to mitigate dubious transactions.

PSEMAS falls under the Ministry of Finance.

In the meantime, the ministry has put on hold payment of about 25 service providers while the administrator, Methealth, and the ministry conclude investigations.

“The Ministry of Finance had appointed a committee of health care service providers to help the ministry with the review of PSEMAS claims to identify outliers and inappropriate claiming,” said Minister of Finance, Calle Schlettwein when he addressed health providers at an engagement meeting in Ongwediva recently.

Meanwhile, a temporary unit in the Office of the Prime Minister has been created to review and analyse the current PSEMAS governance structure and oversight of the scheme and review the benefits.

A consultant was appointed to lead the project within six months.

Going forward, health care service providers are required to sign contracts with PSEMAS by March 31.

Service providers who do not sign contracts with PSEMAS will not be bound by PSEMAS terms and conditions.

“Therefore, if a PSEMAS member makes use of the service of a non-PSEMAS service provider, the member will have to pay the service provider him or herself and then follow deviation process to claim the amount which PSEMAS would have paid for that service if it were rendered by a contracted-in service provider,” said Schlettwein.

The minister said the ministry had settled claims amounting to N$2. 48 billion by February 11 and the balance will be settled by the end of this month.

Accumulated arrears will be honoured early next month.

Chairperson of the Namibian Medical Society and Surgeon at the Onandjokwe hospital, Akutu Munyika, said those who overstepped are a small fraction that has created a bad name for the profession.

He called on those found to have overstepped to be dealt with in accordance with the law.