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NEWSFLASH

TOPICS INCLUDED IN THIS EDITION:

  1. TRIBUTE TO BELINDA JOHNSON
  2. IMPORTANT SAOA MEMBER SURVEY 
  3. EYE CARE AWARENESS POSTERS
  4. MEDICAL SCHEMES AND ADMINISTRATORS
  5. BOOSTER DOSE OF J&J VACCINES: SISONKE STUDY PARTICIPANTS
  6. NON- PROFIT ORGANISATIONS AMENDMENT BILL
  7. PROMOTION OF ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT (PAIA): MANUAL
  8. WMA DEMANDS ACTION AGAINST
    ‘SELF-DIAGNOSIS, SELF-PRESCRIPTION AND SELF-MEDICATION’
  9. SAOA OFFICE: YEAR END CLOSURE 
  10. MORE THAN 11001 WEBINAR SERIES
  11. FORTHCOMING EVENTS

TRIBUTE TO BELINDA JOHNSON

 


It is with great sadness that we advise our members of the passing of Belinda Johnson. Belinda had succumbed to the ill effects of cancer after a long illness. Condolences are extended to Belinda’s family, colleagues and friends. May she rest in peace.

IMPORTANT SAOA MEMBER SURVEY  


The SAOA is dedicated to rendering the highest standards of service delivery for the benefit of our members. In this regard your opinion would be very much appreciated to assist us to ensure that   your expectations and requirements are being met.

Please rate us in accordance with listed parameters by simply ticking the appropriate box in the linked survey where applicable, based on your personal experience and knowledge.

TAKE THE SURVEY

EYE CARE AWARENESS POSTERS


 


 

Eye Care Awareness Posters have been printed to be strategically placed in centres visited by high volumes of members of the public, such as driver licence centres and home affairs offices. Hoya have volunteered to assist with the distribution and delivery of the posters throughout the country, via their representatives. 

The posters provide tips for healthy eyes and promote the importance of regular vision and eye health examinations by an optometrist.
  • The posters are available to Full Practicing Members at no charge (a courier charge may be applicable in accordance with the linked schedule).
  • Non - members may purchase the posters at a cost of R350-00 (plus courier charges). To order your poster please email us at: orders@saoa.co.za

VIEW WATERMARKED POSTER

MEDICAL SCHEMES AND ADMINISTRATORS


SAOA Codes

Procedural and product codes for 2022 have been disseminated to medical schemes and administrators. Of relevance is that suppliers of lenses and contact lenses are allocated codes each year by the SAOA for a fee. In certain situations, suppliers have failed to honour their financial obligations to the SAOA, despite numerous attempts to at least make an arrangement for payment; there are also suppliers who do not trade any longer. In such circumstances, the suppliers concerned have been withdrawn from the SAOA coding structure, namely:

  • Apex

  • Hins

  • RVT Optical

  • Wize Eyes 
     

GEMS/Opticlear

Engagements continue with both GEMS and Opticlear regarding issues which include Opticlear policies (children 9 years and under), incorporation of the dispensing fee within the comprehensive vision and eye health examination and random audits, all of which are vehemently opposed by the SAOA.
 

Discovery Health: 2022

The SAOA and Discovery Health continue to engage on important matters on a regular basis which include the expanded scope for optometry, benefit design for 2022, amongst others.

Of significance is that Discovery have advised optical suppliers that they will not list any product where there is an increase for 2022 which exceeds 3.8%. To view correspondence sent to suppliers in this regard, click here.

In practical terms, the price increase restriction  imposed by Discovery means : 

  • All lens products increased by 3.8% or less will be published in the Discovery Health 2022 price list 

  • All lens products above a 3.8 % increase will not be listed on the Discovery Health 2022 price file.

The SAOA may not enter the fray due to the existing competition laws, but it will be interesting to note the positions to be adopted by the individual suppliers.

It is also important to note that there is, at this time, no deal in place between Discovery Health and Winlaw Pty Ltd (Eye Squared Optics) regarding the provision of low- cost frames. 
 

Competition Laws

Taking cognisance of the interventions, intended and actual, imposed by schemes, administrators and networks, the SAOA is in the process of seeking legal counsel to establish the legitimacy of such actions. SAOA members will be kept informed.
 

Legal Action: Duress Experienced During Clawback Audits: SA Society of Physiotherapy (SASP)

SASP has embarked on a path in an attempt stop funders from acting as prosecutor, judge, and jury, when auditing practices. Emphasis is placed on Section 59 of the Medical Schemes Act used by medical schemes as justification to clawback and/or withhold payments of claims received. 

The SASP strategy is to bring substantial court action, challenging the funders’ interpretation of the relevant Section 59 clause of the Medical Schemes Act and have it declared unconstitutional with the request that it be set aside until such time as Parliament could amend it appropriately. To view Section 59 of the Act, click here.

The case has been lodged in the High Court of South Africa (Gauteng Division) where 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 include :

• 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 to date. 

The SAOA has attended meetings with SASP and other professions and continues to engage to consider our own way forward. 

BOOSTER DOSE OF J&J VACCINES:
SISONKE STUDY PARTICIPANTS

The Sisonke Early Access programme which was conducted as a Phase 3b study provided healthcare workers with a single dose of Janssen ® (J&J) vaccine. Between 17th  February and 16th May 2021,  more than 490,000 health care workers were vaccinated as part of the programme.

While scientific evidence is not conclusive regarding the need for a booster dose, laboratory investigations as well as clinical observations suggest that the protection against Covid-19 provided to these healthcare workers is waning. As per a communique from the office of the Director General of Health, dated 29 0ctober 2021, the Sisonke study will be extended, and Sisonke study participants will be offered a booster dose of Janssen® (J&J) vaccine. The purpose of the study is to establish whether a booster dose, given 6 - 8 months after the primary schedule, provides significantly improved protection against COVID-19 infection. The booster doses will be administered at selected public and private vaccination sites, and the South African Medical Research Council will monitor the outcomes. To view the notice from the Acting Director General, click here

NON- PROFIT ORGANISATIONS
AMENDMENT BILL


The principal Non-Profit Organisations Act was passed in 1997 and has stood the test of time. It was a ground-breaking piece of legislation that created an enabling environment for the growth of the non-profit sector, and it did away with the restrictive laws created during the apartheid period, including those related to fundraising. It created the NPO Directorate in the Department of Social Development, which was intended to serve as the central point for non-profit registration and, ideally, a facility to serve the sector. However, there have been challenges and many organisations did not bother to register (it is not compulsory) if they did not receive funding from the state. 

The draft amendment bill was published for comment on 1 October 2021. Changes that the government would like to see include:

  • change in government structure, doing away with the NPO Directorate and the creation of a Registrar of Non-profit Organisations.

  • the introduction of compulsory registration of foreign organisations operating in South Africa and

  • the establishment of an Arbitration Tribunal to deal with disputes.

To view the Amendment Bill, as published, click here. As an interested party, the SAOA submitted a response. To view the SAOA response, click here

PROMOTION OF ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT (PAIA): MANUAL


Please be reminded that it will be mandatory for all organisations and practices, regardless of size or turnover, to have a PAIA manual as from 1 January 2022. The Regulator has recently published templates and also a PAIA Guide on its website but bear in mind that these templates are only generic examples and will have to be adapted to the needs of the organisation. The SAOA has made available a simpler version of a PAIA manual which may be used by practices. Also remember that, if your practice has not been exempt and has an existing PAIA manual, it will need to be updated to provide for the new provisions under POPIA. To view the SAOA PAIA template, click here.

Do not confuse a PAIA manual  with the various policies, etc. under POPIA (Protection of Personal Information Act). The latter deals with the protection of personal information only; whilst PAIA has to do with external requests for accessing any information that the practice holds. Both areas are however administrated and enforced by the Information Regulator as from 1 July 2021.

WMA DEMANDS ACTION AGAINST
‘SELF-DIAGNOSIS, SELF-PRESCRIPTION AND SELF-MEDICATION’

The World Medical Association (WMA) has called on national healthcare user associations to combat the “growing culture of ill-advised self-diagnosis, self-prescription and self-medication”, at its annual general assembly.

The WMA, an international and independent confederation of free professional medical associations representing physicians worldwide, believes there should be stricter regulations imposed on businesses selling medical products, and that websites promoting fake and substandard products should be shut down. The WMA position is consistent with the media releases recently disseminated by both the SAOA and HPCSA/PBODO, warning the public of the dangers of (eg) purchasing adjustable readers without consultation by a registered eye care practitioner.

SAOA OFFICE: YEAR END CLOSURE 


Please note that the SAOA Office will be closed from 20 December 2021 to 2 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.

Have you registered for the next webinar?

Contact Lens Advanced & Contact Lens Therapeutic

SPEAKERS: Dr Dirk Booysen & Mr Chris Eksteen

Date: Thursday 11 November 2021 | Time: 18h30 to 20h30
Completion of the Questionnaire allows you to CHOOSE the Webinars that are of interest to you and MUST NOT be seen as Registration to the Webinar.
REGISTRATION is REQUIRED FOR EVERY WEBINAR to ensure access.

NOTE: Upon receipt of the email with the LINK from marketing@saoa.co.za,  you are required to: 
Step 1: Click button below to view all topics
Step 2: Complete the 3 questions 
Step 3. Submit the form to ensure acceptance of your registration . The unique password will be sent to join the webinar.

REGISTRATIONS ARE MANDATORY AND CLOSE at 4pm on the date of each WEBINAR.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW ALL WEBINAR TOPICS

 FORTHCOMING EVENTS


Save the date for the following events scheduled to take place during the first quarter of 2021:
 
11 NOVEMBER: CPD Webinar Series - Contact Lens Advanced & Contact Lens Therapeutic
14 NOVEMBER: World Diabetes Day

Details of each activity/event will be made available in due course.
STAY SAFE
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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