Psmi strike rages on

HARARE - Premier Service Medical Investment (Psmi) bosses are drawing up plans to keep patient-disruption to a minimum after a crippling doctors’ strike entered day three yesterday over a pay row, with government still failing to remit $44 million  it collected from civil servants.

The organisation has called the strike “regrettable” and said it hoped their debtors would reconsider and release funds after considering the impact on patients.

Psmi is an investment arm of Premier Service Medical Aid Society (Psmas) and runs clinics and hospitals. Since January, government has not remitted $44 million collected from civil servants, who make the bulk of the clients at the country’s biggest medical insurer.

The workers, who have not been paid salaries for five months, went on industrial action on Monday. Most of the Psmi facilities were still not attending to patients yesterday.

The top health service provider said they had not received any funds by yesterday afternoon.

“We have not received any payment, nothing is reflecting in our account,” Psmi business development and customer relations manager Nhamo Marandu said yesterday.

Psmi group managing director Farai Muchena on Tuesday sent out a letter to all staff encouraging them to be patient.

“I urge us all to remain strong and vigilant in these trying times,” he said. “We must do the right thing for today and for our future. If you decide to stop providing services to patients, no one will owe us money either as cash or credit for no service will have been rendered.

“We also risk losing customers by engaging in such actions. Let us not forget that we are competing for these patients and we have worked hard to be where we are today.”

Critics said the Psmi drama, if it remains ignored by government, has potential catastrophic complications, so grave than most natural and man-made health disasters.

“In my little wisdom, it is now inevitable that the doctors in private practice and their colleagues in government hospitals will soon join hands to politely ask the unresponsive minister of Health to leave office.”

In his letter to staff, Muchena said the non-payment of salaries was not to punish the workers, but because that there was no money to pay them.

“The delayed payment of salaries by Psmi is not a deliberate action designed to punish employees nor is it because other payments are being prioritised.

“Instead, it is because our biggest debtor Psmas, is facing challenges in honouring its commitments.

“You will all agree that we are providing services to our patients and being paid through medical aid societies who in turn have not been honouring their patient’s bull commitments on time.”

Government has also failed to remit $94,6 million owed to Psmas which means that Treasury must pay the medical insurer more than $138 million, most of which is for paying service providers and salaries for the 2000 workers at Psmi.

Government and Psmas reached an agreement recently where Treasury would pay at least $10 million a month, which it has failed to do, resulting in workers who include doctors, nurses and administration staff failing to get their salaries on time.

Comments (7)

Muchena dnt pretend to be concerned. You are part of the circus at PSMAS. You were implicated in previous press reports as a fraudster. A foresic audit report on PSMI is long overdue. You shouls step down. ndimi mauraya musangano. handiti maitora mari muchinobhadhara ma journalist, ministers, state house so as to push ur selfish agendas at psmas?

PSMI REPRESENTATIVE - 26 November 2015

There might be serious need for government to remit our subscriptions to PSMAS but first things first. Gvt cnt remit millions of dollars to corrupt executives. this money will be at the mercy of Munyonga (current CEO), Mukwesha (current company secretary), Mavis Gumbo (Mai Charamba 2), Mutasa (Audit). These guys are implicated in EY forensic audit report of February as serious and red zone fraudsters who swindled 22.8 million outside payroll and tax evasion. honestly cn they be trusted with more hard earned millions of dollars??? so that you further abuse it. you are mobilizing psmas subscribers to react through these funny articles but we re aware of what is going on behind the scenes. its not the gvt but psmas and its fraudsters that are delaying our salaries. Gvt cnt remit money to u fraudtsters. Munyonga, Mutasa, Gumbo, Mukwesha should leave office then gvt regains trust in psmas/ psmi and our relationships are mend.

DIVA - 26 November 2015

We read in the Herald that the board now has power to challenge the government, to armtwist directives, to run the organisation against the interest of the masses. Can't they use the same defiance and power to service its debts and pay its employees. do not run to government wen its suits you, maintain a good relationship through and through. You are hiding behind a smokescreen of lies and pretence as a board. The government you are defying is the same government that should pay you. You are applying chilli in your own eyes.

Fire Power - 26 November 2015

Employees needs money and gvt as a regulator needs accountability and transparency. There should be a balance. No transparency and accountability no money. MAKE PSMAS FORENSIC AUDIT REPORT PUBLIC AND ACTIONABLE FIRST.

Chipoko Masaisai - 26 November 2015

if the biggest debtor pays anything to PSMAS, I hope the Medical AID society will not rush to put out the fire at PSMI and neglect to pay other health service providers some f whose debts are older than the PSMI one. Let every provider benefit from this payment since we all have issues emanating from exposure to this Medical AID Society. Someone remind me again why PSMAS is in this incestuous set up with a provider (PSMI)?

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