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Dear Member

 We refer to the PPN manual recently made available to the optometric profession for implementation in 2019.  Please note that we have engaged with PPN at the highest level in this regard  and have expressed concerns as stated below.

 Authenticate IT

At the outset, it is to be noted that the SAOA strongly opposes the concept of Authenticate IT,as presented in the manual, and the implementation thereof.  

 As stated in the manual, there is an incentive for optometrists, linked to professional fees, to participate in the Authenticate IT system which involves online ordering of spectacle lenses.The system thus allows PPN to view  online orders for purposes of correlation with prescription, as claimed. 

 Should practitioners choose not to participate, the practitioners concerned will be paid a consultation fee which, in fact, is lower than the fees charged in 2018. On the other hand,  practitioners who participate will be entitled to charge and claim a consultation fee which is double the amount to be charged by non participating practitioners. 

 As discussed, the Authenticate IT mechanism appears to take the form of a perverse incentive as per HPCSA Ethical Guidelines whereby practitioners are induced to prescribe or use preferential products for financial gain. 

 Clarification has also been requested relating to the following scenarios.

  • Single Vision lenses stocked by the practitioner.The practices concerned provide a speedy service (delivery of spectacles) with an onsite technician.
  • Lenses ordered from  the accredited  suppliers but fitted on site by a technician.
  • VAT implications as suppliers will be paid directly
  • Where services rendered by a non PPN practice, will the medical aid member be compromised by being paid R300-00 for the consultation, and not as per the full optical benefit?

 Whilst it is understood that only 5 medical schemes have subscribed to the concept of Authenticate IT,  In principle, the linking of the professional fee  to the  prescribing of products from accredited suppliers  is considered to be a violation of  basic ethical principles.

  The Comprehensive Examination

 According to the PPN manual, the comprehensive examination also encompasses biometrics (finger printing) as well as Authenticate IT.From a technical perspective, such inclusions are incorrect and do not belong as part of the comprehensive examination.

  Split Billing / Balance Billing

 The PPN manual indicates that split billing and balance billing not being permitted is referenced in the Medical Schemes Act and as well as the HPCSA ethical rules. Clarification in this regard has also been requested.

 PPN have agreed to review the content of the manual where applicable (as per above) but state that they are not in a position to put implementation on hold until issues raised are resolved due to contractual obligations with medical schemes.

 The SAOA is opposed to the PPN manual in its current form and is seeking alternative ways to have this important matter resolved. We will keep you informed accordingly.

Kind regards.


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