Inspection into Bonita Medical Fund halted - report

The Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) has halted an inspection into Bonitas Medical Fund.

According to a report by Business Day, the two-year long inspection's draft report had been compiled and submitted to the CMS in October 2018.

The matter dates back to 2014, when the Registrar of Medical Schemes on November 10, 2014 appointed an inspector.

According to court papers, the inspector was to probe possible irregularities at Bonitas. These include the election of the board of trustees of the scheme, the commercial relationship between officers of the scheme and service providers contracted to the scheme and increases in the non-healthcare expenditure, marketing expenditure and managed care expenditure of the scheme.

Bonitas had appealed the decision with the registrar, but was unsuccessful before resorting to an appeal through the courts.

Consequently the registrar and the Council of Medical Schemes, which is mandated to protect members of medical schemes, had filed counter applications.

Eventually, on October 3, 2016, Judge CHG van der Merwe dismissed Bonitas's appeal with costs.

Neither Bonitas nor the Council of Medical Schemes have responded to Fin24's queries about why the probe was halted.

The CMS is meant to ensure medical schemes comply with the medical Schemes Act and conducts inspections to ensure there is overall good governance and compliance with relevant legislation and scheme rules, according to the CMS's 2017/18 annual report.

"Where there is a lack of good governance, the CMS issues directives instructing the relevant scheme to rectify non-compliance.

"In cases where the overall non-compliance or lack of good corporate governance are identified, action is taken to protect the interest of members of the scheme, and this is done by the removal of a principal officer / trustee (s) or, in certain cases, placing the scheme under curatorship," the annual report read. 

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