Deputy finance minister Maureen Hinda-Mbuende has sent a stern warning to government employees abusing the Public Service Medical Aid Scheme (Psemas), saying her ministry will initiate criminal proceedings against perpetrators.
Government spends a whopping N$2.6 billion per year on Psemas. Hinda-Mbuende, speaking to New Era on Wednesday, said the ministry is aware that there are government employees abusing the medical aid scheme by allowing, amongst others, their brothers, sisters and cousins who are not members to use their medical aid.
“You will have someone who is based in Windhoek, but his or her medical aid card is being used by someone who is in Keetmanshoop or in Rundu, while at the same time the card is being used in Windhoek. That is what I am talking about. We are closing in on perpetrators, and criminal proceedings will be initiated against such perpetrators,” warned Hinda-Mbuende, who last week Friday marked 100 days in office.
“Many people see this as a brotherhood, but this is a criminal action, and actions should be taken against perpetrators.”
She added that serious action will likewise be taken against medical doctors abusing the scheme by claiming that they had treated patients, although they had not.
“These things happen every day where you will find a doctor putting in claims, sometimes beyond their capabilities. You know a day has eight hours, but sometimes you will find out that one doctor has put in claims that he/she has treated 20 or 30 patients a day, which to me really doesn’t add up,” she stated, adding that the ministry is currently working on a plan on how to punish such healthcare practitioners abusing the system.
“We are looking at a method how such doctors can be punished. Either their licences should be revoked, but something needs to be done,” said the deputy minister.
Furthermore, Hinda-Mbuende noted that the ministry will soon embark on an awareness campaign to educate government employees on the use of their medical aid.
“The theft of government medical aid funds is rife. What we need to do is to also sensitise members that what they are doing is wrong, and if they continue, the scheme might end up being discontinued,” she reiterated.
President Hage Geingob in April this year appointed Hinda-Mbuende in her current position. Before that, she served as deputy minister of home affairs and immigration, as well as deputy minister of international relations and cooperation. Born at Tses in the //Kharas region, the 56-year-old politician also served as the Southern Cross HCN Centre managing director, National Housing Enterprise (NHE) regional director, and the defunct City Savings and Investment Bank finance manager.