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HPCSA: Investigation into contractual relationships

Council has recently received numerous complaints against Preferred Provider Negotiators (PPN) – a service provider for optical benefits for members of different medical schemes. PPN is not a practitioner registered under the Health Professions Act (the Act), but there are allegations of unprofessional conduct by practitioners registered under the Act in their contractual relationships with PPN.

In terms of section 41A(5) of the Act, the Registrar is empowered to institute or cause to be instituted an investigation to achieve the objectives of the Act – into alleged contravention of, or failure to comply with any provision of the Act; in order to determine if any provision of this Act applies to or has been contravened by a registered person; and into a charge, complaint or allegation of unprofessional conduct by a registered person.

Section 41A(8) further provides that after an investigation has been completed, the Registrar shall compile a report. If such a report reveals prima facie evidence of unprofessional conduct contemplated in this Act and no complaint or charge has been lodged or laid regarding the conduct in question for the purpose of an inquiry in terms of section 41, such report shall be deemed to be a complaint made for that purpose, and the Registrar shall serve a copy thereof on the registered person concerned.

Council wishes to inform practitioners that an investigation in terms of section 41A has commenced and the Professional Board for Optometry and Dispensing Opticians will not hesitate to take disciplinary actions against practitioners registered under the Board who may be found to have acted unprofessionally in their contractual relationships with PPN.

Practitioners are urged not to lodge further complaints on this matter as Council has already commenced with an investigation in terms of section 41A of the Act.

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