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NEWSFLASH

TOPICS INCLUDED IN THIS EDITION:

  1. EXPANDED SCOPE: OPHTHALMOLOGY COMPLAINT DISREGARDED BY CMS
  2. ROAD SAFETY: A DEEPLY PERSONAL ISSUE
  3. SAOA TO SUPPORT LEGAL ACTION AGAINST MEDICAL SCHEMES AND ADMINISTRATORS BY PHYSIOTHERAPISTS
  4. MANDATORY VACCINATIONS IMMINENT IN SA
  5. BUSINESS FOR SA (B4SA) WANTS ‘URGENT’ RESTRICTIONS ON THE UNVACCINATED
  6. SECO 2022
  7. PRACTICES FOR SALE
  8. NEWSFLASH: MEMBER CONTRIBUTIONS
  9. PATIENT PAMPHLETS
  10. FORTHCOMING EVENTS
  11. SAOA OFFICE: YEAR END CLOSURE

EXPANDED SCOPE:
OPHTHALMOLOGY COMPLAINT DISREGARDED BY CMS

 
The Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) published Circular 19 of 2021 regarding optometrists’ expanded scope of practice on 23 March 2021. The purpose of the said circular was to inform medical schemes, administrators, and other related stakeholders of the effect of the approved expansion of the scope of practice for optometrists. The Circular was followed by a harsh attack by the Ophthalmological Society of South Africa (OSSA) on the legislative processes adopted by the HPCSA/PBODO processes which led to practitioners, with the required training, permitted to treat specified eye conditions using pharmaceutical substances, as approved by SAHPRA.

CMS Circular 70, released on 30 November 2021, completely ignores the allegations made by OSSA and urges all stakeholders (medical schemes, administrators, managed care organisations, and clearing houses (switches) to ensure that their processes, systems, policies, etc. have been amended to accommodate claims from optometrists with therapeutic privileges where appropriate (should the registered scheme rules provide for such benefits, or they fall within the PMBs).

The CMS Circular further advises medical schemes offering optometry benefits that they should also ensure that their registered rules appropriately provide for enhanced scope of practice consultations/ prescribed medications provided and/or prescribed by qualified optometrists, as mandated by Section 57(4)(h) of the Medical Schemes Act. According to the scheme rules, PMB claims for optometrists with therapeutic privileges should still be covered as PMBs based on their expanded scope of practice. To view the CMS Circular 70, click here.

ROAD SAFETY
A DEEPLY PERSONAL ISSUE


The SAOA has joined hands with Road Safety Awareness Africa (RSAA) to create greater awareness about road safety during the forthcoming festive season. RSAA is a Non-Profit, civil society organisation, established by people who have been directly affected by a road traffic crash, either through the loss of a loved one or as a victim themselves.

From the perspective of RSSA, road safety is a deeply personal issue. They believe that their testimonies can help to convey a sense of urgency.
To read further, click here.

SAOA TO SUPPORT LEGAL ACTION AGAINST MEDICAL SCHEMES AND ADMINISTRATORS BY PHYSIOTHERAPISTS


The South African Society of Physiotherapy (SASP) National Executive Committee embarked on a lengthy process of legal consultation to evaluate the best way to assist and protect the SASP members from undue duress experienced during clawback audits. The advice received was that the only way to stop the funders from acting as prosecutor, judge, and jury in their own cause, would be to bring substantial court action challenging the funders’ interpretation of the relevant Section 59 clause, have it declared unconstitutional and request that it be set aside until such time as Parliament could amend it appropriately. The basis for this approach is that the Section 59 is silent on process. In other words, Section 59 permits schemes to clawback or withhold payments with the understanding that the practitioners concerned are not entitled to the funds (fraudulent claims, negligence, etc) but schemes have carte blanche regarding processes and procedures which are often unfair and unjust.

After months of consultation and preparation, SASP Commercial Affairs (Pty) Ltd, formally lodged such an action in the High Court of South Africa (Gauteng Division). The Notice of Motion (a summary of the reliefs sought) names all medical schemes/administrators, the Council for Medical Schemes as well as the Minister of Health as defendants in the matter and is currently being served on all the respondents. The reliefs sought includes, amongst other things:
  • An immediate declaration of Section 59 (3) as unconstitutional and invalid
  • The final decision-making process be removed from the funder or administrator and handed to an independent party, suitably qualified and appointed
  • A review of contested audits where such are put forward.

The SAOA has provided audit experiences by SAOA members, considered procedurally unfair, to SASP and will provide a letter supporting the action instituted by SASP. SAOA members will be kept updated regarding developments.

MANDATORY VACCINATIONS IMMINENT
IN SOUTH AFRICA


Following the emergence of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus and the slower than anticipated South African take-up of vaccinations, there has been growing pressure on the government, especially from business and trade unions, to take the contentious step of imposing mandatory vaccinations. To read further, click here.

BUSINESS FOR SA (B4SA) WANTS ‘URGENT’ RESTRICTIONS ON THE UNVACCINATED

Business for South Africa (B4SA) is calling for a rapid move to restrict access to public indoor areas that are not required for emergency use (like hospitals, grocery stores and certain government services) to vaccinated people only, following the emergence of the new Omicron variant and the pending fourth wave.

B4SA is advocating for these measures to save lives and avoid severe lockdown restrictions over the upcoming holiday period, it said in a media statement.

B4SA is an alliance of South African volunteers working with the South African government, and other social partners, as well as various stakeholders to mobilise business resources and capacity to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. To read further, click here.

SECO 2022




Complimentary invitations are extended to SAOA Members to virtually attend SECO 2022 (9 – 13 March 2022) to be held in New Orleans, Louisiana. The following points are to be noted.
  • Select speakers presenting to full classrooms onsite in New Orleans will be streaming live through the SECO 2022 LIVE CE platform for accredited education for the virtual attendee. A total of 49 courses and 71 hours of CE over five days!
  • For additional information on the virtual option please click here.
The promo code for SAOA members to register is INTL2022 and must be received at the beginning of the registration process. The code is good for the Virtual Congress Package, or the In-person Congress Package and the rate will automatically populate to $0.00 with the promo code entered 
 
PLEASE DO NOT REGISTER FOR THE BUILD A PACKAGE OPTIONS.

PRACTICES FOR SALE


Practice for Sale - Illovo Sandton - Owner emigrating

Exclusive Profitable Upmarket practice for Sale in Illovo Sandton for Sale.
  • Practice was established in 2007 and has a large patient data base.
  • Ideal for a practitioner that is trendy and enjoys an upmarket setting.
  • Low overheads in a niche, safe and easily accessible convenience mall.
  • Interested parties please email Victor: victor@dozetos.com

Practice and Medical Suite for Sale - Mulbarton (Jhb South) - Owner emigrating.

Well established, profitable practice for Sale in Mulbarton (South of Johannesburg).
  • Practice was established in 2001 and has a large patient data base.
  • Situated in a section title Medical Centre adjoining a Netcare Hospital.
  • Ideal for a practitioner that enjoys a clinical medical centre setting.
  • Onsite lab with low overheads in a niche, safe and secure, easily accessible Medical Centre.
  • Existing Optom happy to remain in the employ of the new owner.
  • Referring Ophthalmologist and General practitioners in the centre.
  • Interested parties please email Victor: victor@dozetos.com

NEWSFLASH: MEMBER CONTRIBUTIONS


The News Flash is designed to share news and views with SAOA members on at least a weekly basis. In essence, the ‘Flash’ is a communication vehicle for the benefit of members, and thus members are welcome to contribute by sharing your own news and views of relevance to the professions of optometry and dispensing opticianry, for consideration by the editing team. Members are also welcome to advertise employment vacancies, sale of practices, etc.

Contributions are to be forwarded to marketing@saoa.co.za.

PATIENT PAMPHLETS 


Based on repeated requests from members, please note that patient-friendly educational pamphlets are now in stock which are available to Members in Good Standing at low cost. Over the years, such pamphlets have proven to be a valuable assistance to practitioners  in terms of patients’ eye health education and awareness. The pamphlets currently in stock, include:     
  • Digital Devices
  • Dry Eye
  • Spectacle Care
  • Vision Conditions
  • Drivers Guide to Vision
The pamphlets are available in packs of 50, costed as follows:
  • SAOA Members: R65-00 per pack.
  • Non-members:  R140-00 per pack
Click here to access the order form and view samples by clicking here.

FORTHCOMING EVENTS


DEC 16: Day of Reconciliation
DEC 25: Christmas Day
DEC 26: Day of Goodwill
JAN 1: New Years Day
 

SAOA OFFICE: YEAR END CLOSURE 


Please note that the SAOA office will close 20 December 2021 and will reopen on 7 January 2022. Members requiring driver certificates during the holiday period are advised to place orders no later than 14 December to ensure that the orders can be processed and distributed prior to the year-end closure of  the office.

Lucky Nkosi and Harry Rosen will be available to members throughout the  holiday season and can be contacted on 074 243 4261 or 084 482 4517 respectively

QUESTIONS, COMMENTS OR CONCERNS CAN BE DIRECTED TO:
Lucky Nkosi - membership@saoa.co.za | 074 243 4261
Harry Rosen - 
ceo@saoa.co.za | 084 482 4517

Please be assured that conversations relating to personal circumstances will be regarded as private and confidential. 
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Copyright © 2021 South African Optometric Assocation, All rights reserved.


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