The provisional findings and recommendations of the health market inquiry will be released very soon‚ the director of the inquiry said on Monday.
A notice advising stakeholders of the publication date is likely to be issued on Tuesday‚ Clint Oellermann said. The inquiry started its work examining the cost drivers in private healthcare four and a half years ago and was originally due to conclude it in December 2015.
The inquiry panel on Friday announced a further delay after objections by Life Healthcare. However‚ the healthcare provider wrote a letter to the inquiry on Friday‚ indicating that it did not want its concerns about confidentiality to delay publication of the provisional report.
Life Healthcare head of investor relations Adam Pyle said there was an expectation that the report would be published this week.
Originally four healthcare providers – Discovery Health‚ Netcare‚ Life Healthcare and Mediclinic – objected to the publication of certain information contained in the provisional report‚ which they said was subject to confidentiality restrictions.
The inquiry’s notice to stakeholders on Friday said that through further engagements‚ the panel was able to resolve the dispute with Discovery Health‚ Netcare and Mediclinic but not with Life Healthcare.
“Several engagements have been held with Life Healthcare in an attempt to resolve the issue without any success‚” the notice said.
The inquiry panel does not believe its analysis is confidential and had decided to take the matter to the Competition Commission for a determination. However‚ the panel reversed that decision after Life Healthcare withdrew its objection.
Non-governmental organisation Section 27 said in a statement that delaying the publication would affect the right to health as questions about the affordability and equity of the private health system had to be addressed urgently.
“The HMI has postponed the conclusion of the inquiry multiple times for several reasons‚ including the delays in obtaining data from stakeholders such as medical schemes and private hospitals‚ the complexity of the data and the analysis thereof‚ and on the need to allow stakeholders access to the underlying data relied upon by the HMI‚” Section 27 said.
The organisation noted that in August 2017‚ the health market inquiry announced its intention to publish the provisional report by 30 November 2017. However‚ the three large hospital groups argued that it would be procedurally unfair to publish the report without allowing them access to the relevant analysis reports and underlying confidential data and information.
The inquiry subsequently gave access to the relevant information to the stakeholders. The inquiry was set to release the interim report on April 30‚ then May 31‚ then June 28‚ Section 27 said.
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