National News

MPs fret over PSMAS rot

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Vice President Constantino Chiwenga says the rot at the Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) has crippled the operations at the medical aid facility insisting the ongoing forensic audit will address all cases of corruption that had become rampant in the organisation exposing millions of civil servants and pensioners.

This follows concerns raised by Members of Parliament yesterday who questioned the government action on the corruption at PSMAS that has seen several of its hospitals and clinics shutting down.

Millions of subscribers have also gone for years without benefitting with MPs saying many have died as a result.

Mkoba MP Amos Chibaya said: “It is worrying that civil servants and other would-be beneficiaries are still paying to PSMAS but are not getting any joy. PSMAS facilities are closing down and this is endangering people’s lives.”

Other MPs also gave accounts of the dire situation calling upon the government to act.

Chiwenga, who is also the Health Minister said the government was alert to the PSMAS challenges adding a forensic audit was underway and results will be made public soon.

He said the situation is set to normalise soon after the forensic audit.

“I think by now this august house should know the rot that was at PSMAS,” Chiwenga said. “We could not allow the corruption to proceed and the PSMAS board was dissolved or it dissolved itself. We are putting up an interim board.”

“We know it has troubled our workers and those who have policies but we are addressing that. There is a forensic audit underway and the issue is still being dealt with by the regulating authority so we cannot speak on how the situation got there. Money has been abused.”

He added that there was serious abuse of money at PSMAS but could not give timelines on when the forensic audit will be finished for the organisation to return to normalcy.

“On timelines, I would want this to be done as soon as possible. We will ask the head of PSMAS who is working with our permanent secretary when this will be done,” he said.

Recently, the government announced that PSMAS will receive a government bailout to clear its debts and improve its balance sheet.

Government employees who make up most of PSMAS’ 900,000 customers were struggling to obtain medical services on the strength of a PSMAS health insurance policy.

Hospitals and pharmacies were refusing to honour the membership card, citing non-payment of claims submitted to PSMAS. This has resulted in PSMAS policy holders being required to make payments up-front, often in foreign currency.

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