The Health Market Inquiry (HMI) has confirmed that
objections from Life Healthcare have forced it to delay the publication of its
preliminary findings and recommendations again. 
The much-anticipated preliminary report on the HMI’s investigation into
the private health sector was supposed to be released at a press conference on
Thursday (28 June).  

The HMI says objections were also raised by Netcare, Mediclinic
and Discovery Health on confidentiality issues but that those disputes have
been resolved through engagement with the parties.

“However, the dispute on confidentiality remains unresolved
in respect of Life Healthcare which objects to the publication of the Provisional
Report, on the basis that it relies on their confidential information,” the HMI
said this morning.

As reported earlier by MedBrief Africa, Health Minister, Aaron Motsaledi last week hinted that there
were efforts by what he called “parties with vested interests” to stop the publication
of the report.

According to the HMI, it is of the view that the analysis it
seeks to publish is not confidential.

“The HMI Panel nevertheless recognises that a dispute has
arisen between the HMI and Life Healthcare on whether the information the HMI
seeks to publish in its Provisional Report is subject to the confidentiality
restrictions claimed.”

The HMI will now take a decision to approach the Competition
Tribunal in accordance with the Competition Act, for a determination as to
whether the information in question is indeed confidential, and whether the
publication in the form proposed by the HMI breaches confidentiality, as
claimed by the hospital group.

The HMI says it regrets the unavoidable delay and that
stakeholders will be informed of the next steps in due course.