PSMAS board chair resigns

DR Jeremiah Bvirindi’s turbulent tenure at the helm of the beleaguered Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) board came to end on Friday after a public outcry over a series of complaints related to poor management of the society forced him to step down.

PSMAS managing director, Dr Nixjoen Mapesa, confirmed the resignation of Dr Bvirindi, in a letter written on Tuesday to the regulator seen by this publication.

The day he resigned, thousands of public servants were stopped by their co-ordinator from demonstrating against the careworn medical society, to pave way for the outcome of the forensic audit which started last week. Public servants are not happy that their medical aid has been deemed ‘useless’ despite them being fully paid up members, and were willing to protest against the poor administration at PSMAS.

“This letter serves to advise that Dr J Bvirindi resigned from the PSMAS Board with effect from 8 July 2022,” reads part of the letter written by Dr Mapesa.

“In terms of Clause 12.2 of the PSMAS Board Terms of Reference, once the Chairman’s position becomes vacant, the Vice Chairman of the Board takes over the Chairmanship up to the next Annual General Meeting.

“It is upon this premise that Mrs Fatima Kokerai Chauruka is now the PSMAS Chairman up to the next Annual General Meeting,” reads part of the letter by Dr Mapesa.

Meanwhile, on the same day Dr Mapesa wrote a letter to the regulator, he received his letter as well from the Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (ZCPSTU), notifying him of the appointment of Mr Enock Dongo to the PSMAS board.

The letter seen by the Herald, addressed to Dr Mapesa in his capacity as the principal officer, was written by Mrs Cecilia Alexander.

“This serves to notify you of the appointment of Mr Enock Dongo to the Premier Services Medical Aid Society board as a secondment from labour,” reads part of the letter.

“This follows the recent resignation of Dr Jeremiah Bvirindi from the same board. We stand to be advised by your office accordingly.”

Civil servants have been complaining that PSMAS has failed its members who are automatically up to date with their remittances, but in some cases see their medical aid being turned away by healthcare service providers who say the time taken for payment is far too long.

Some of the problems have been laid at the feet of senior management and board members, who are reportedly mooting diversification into other areas such as mining and insurance, a flagrant disregard of the entity’s founding objectives, and who have also introduced co-payments.

The position has caused the regulator of medical aid societies, who can act in any medical aid society since they all have to be registered, to order a forensic audit at PSMAS – a detailed audit that looks beyond just whether the accounts balance and looks at issues such as the actual management. Heraldpage1image48229632

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