The Limpopo Department of Health is sitting on up to R600-million in outstanding debts, which national treasury says is due to inefficient billing systems, patient details being incomplete, the late rendering of accounts, the late processing of bills and a lack of support by senior management to increase revenue collection.

Tooley said a provincial Treasury summit aimed to unlock revenue collection potential and improve revenue management and accountability and also to develop precise guidelines for effective revenue collection strategies in the Health Department.

New methods

Tooley urged hospital managers to come on board and seek new methods to improve the revenue collection in the province.

“The CEO’s of the hospitals should improve the revenue collection. In the last financial year the intended revenue collection in our hospitals was R180-million and that amount is reduced to R170 million. We need to understand what the situation is and why the department is collecting less,” said Tooley.

“Let’s be reminded that health is paid for by individuals who can afford to pay, and we are focusing on those individuals and institutions such as the Road Accident Fund to pay like they are supposed to.”

Tooley added: “If we can collect more money, that means we can put more money into health. In this instance, should the hospital collect more than budgeted, that money will go back to that hospital. The idea is that money will improve the facilities and the services given to citizens will be of better quality going forward.”

The Department of Health reported that in 2017/18 they had recovered R89-million of a total debt of R708-million as at the end of March. This translated to 12.6% – an increase of 9.4% from the 2014/15 average of 3.2%.

An edited version of this story was published by Health24.