ORDINARY consultation fees for general practitioners will soon rise to around 75 percent as approved by government. The last review of medical tariffs was in 2009. Health and Child Care Ministry sources told our Harare Bureau that the approved tariffs across all areas are likely to see consultation fees for GPs increased from $20 to around $35 per visit.
The GPs had earlier proposed to increase the tariff to $50 a visit.
Consultation fees for specialist doctors, however, are likely to be revised downwards from around $80 to $65 a visit.
Specialists had proposed increasing their consultation fees to $120.
On the other hand, medical aid societies were opposed to any raise, arguing that the current tariffs were already on the high side for the majority of Zimbabweans.
This deadlock forced government to impose a tariff, which is now set for gazetting.
Yesterday, Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said he had appended his signature to the new tariffs that would be gazetted soon, but declined to say what the new fees would be.
“I have already appended my signature to the tariffs and as we speak, they should be at the Attorney-General’s Office,” Dr Parirenyatwa said.
He said he expected a response from the AG’s Office at most 10 days after sending the paperwork there.
“Thereafter, the tariffs would be sent for publishing (in the government gazette),” he said.
Once gazetted, the tariffs become legally binding and every service provider is expected to comply.
Last year, government ordered all service providers not to increase tariffs until it came up with a uniform tariff. However, some service providers had been increasing tariffs unilaterally.
This resulted in medical aid societies’ members having to pay the differences either before receiving treatment (co-payment) or after treatment had been provided (shortfall).
Costs of medical procedures are high in Zimbabwe, with many medical aid societies preferring to send members out of the country for treatment.
Medical aid societies say it is cheaper to pay for treatment, travel and accommodation outside Zimbabwe than to conduct some procedures locally.