06 October 2019

Health minister Zweli Mkhize says he will study health inquiry findings

Business Day 02 October 2019 – The final report includes a detailed assessment of problems in the private healthcare market, and proposes reforms to improve competition and drive down prices

Health minister Zweli Mkhize has welcomed the Competition Commission’s health market inquiry (HMI) report, saying he will study it in detail to determine the next steps. The final findings and recommendations from the five-year inquiry were published in a report released on Monday. The report includes a detailed assessment of the problems in the private healthcare market, and proposes a set of interlinked reforms to improve competition, drive down prices and provide patients with better information about the quality of care they receive. The inquiry's panel members said in a report that the state needed a well-regulated private healthcare sector to be an effective and strategic purchaser of services from providers ranging from hospitals to doctors. They made the case that effective private-sector competition was vital for the government’s plans for introducing universal health coverage, or national health insurance (NHI)

How to ease headaches caused by medical aids

Sunday Times 06 October 2019 – Panel recommends ways to simplify and improve policies

The inquiry recommends that all schemes be forced to offer a single standardised benefit package defined as a list of conditions and treatments; putting in place a risk equalisation fund; that schemes be allowed to offer a set number of easy-to-compare supplementary health-benefit packages that one can but in addition to the basic benefits; to be able to ditch the broker and pay a lower contribution if the broker is not really helping the client.

Private health sector ‘must be reined in’

Saturday Star 05 October 2019 – The commission has concluded that private healthcare is plagued by high and rising costs of medical cover.

The report includes significant over-utilisation without a demonstrative improvement in health outcomes, and a milking of the system due to a lack of controls by the Department of Health. It says the Department has not reined in the private sector, has not used existing powers to manage the market, failed to ensure regular reviews, and not held regulators such as the Health Professions Council and the Council for Medical Schemes sufficiently responsible, which has enabled uncompetitive and inefficient behaviours within the sector.

EXCLUSIVE: Medical scheme membership is unaffordable for growing slice of SA

Business Day 04 October 2019 - Population growth outstrips slight rise in membership numbers over six-year period, data shows

The proportion of the population belonging to medical schemes declined from 16.4% in 2012 to 15.4% in 2018, according to Business Day’s analysis of data published by the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) and Stats SA.

Discovery Health won't challenge Health Market Inquiry findings, says CEO

News24 04 October 2019 - Discovery Health says it is committed to cooperating with government and other players in the private healthcare market to implement the recommendations of a major inquiry into SA's private healthcare system.

Discovery participated in the inquiry process and made submissions. Discovery Health CEO Dr Jonathan Broomberg said that the final report reflects "several years" of careful analysis and engagement with stakeholders. The report found that Discovery is among the top three administrators in the market – together with Medscheme and MMI Health. They dominate with more than 80% of the administrator market, which has high barriers to entry.

Gauteng Health bank accounts attached over R570m unpaid medical negligence claims

Star 03 October 2019 - Over R570-million worth of unpaid medical negligence claims haunt the Gauteng Health Department and now it's bank accounts have been attached to enforce payment.

According to the Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow MEC for Health in Gauteng Jack Bloom, there are 213 cases of medical negligence since 2018, which amounts to R574 730 051.

Health market inquiry tried to fill gaps in SA’s regulatory framework

Business Day 03 October 2019 - The system is fragmented and incomplete, and partial acceptance of the suggestions will fill only some of these gaps, leaving others unaddressed

In his presentation of the final report, the panel chair, judge Sandile Ngcobo, emphasised that no submission was received from the national department of health following the publication of the provisional report during July 2018. This sentiment was also expressed during the final seminars arranged by the panel during April 2019. This is an important point, as it places the panel's recommendations in context. It noted throughout the report that the current regulatory framework is fragmented and incomplete: “We have found there has been inadequate stewardship of the private sector with failures that include the department of health not using existing legislated powers to manage the private healthcare market, failing to ensure regular reviews as required by law, and failing to hold regulators sufficiently accountable. As a consequence, the private sector is neither efficient nor competitive.”

HIV treatment in SA has increased 10-fold in past decade

Business Day 03 October 2019 - A study found those diagnosed with HIV are roughly split by gender, but nine in 10 people actively receiving treatment are girls

SA has the largest number of HIV-positive people in the world, with about 7.2-million carrying the virus, which causes Aids. Researchers studied more than 700,000 young people receiving treatment for the infection and found 10 times the number of adolescents aged between 15 and 19 being treated compared with 2010.

Government failure is responsible for our private health sector’s high fever

Business Day 02 October 2019 - The Competition Commission's high-quality market inquiry shows the system’s defects are not inevitable and can be fixed

The report of the health market inquiry represents only the second such inquiry in the world, and differs markedly in scope and comprehensiveness from its UK equivalent. In a nutshell, its diagnostic argues, with evidence and rational argument, that the market failures of the private health system derive from a failure of government to install a coherent regulatory framework. By Alex van den Heever

NEWS ANALYSIS: Politicians need to drop hostility to help fix private

Business Day 02 October 2019 - Minister will appoint board after a public nomination process, and it will have the autonomy to appoint its chair, CEO and all other executives

The five-year health market inquiry has unsurprisingly concluded that competition in the private health-care market has largely failed. It spells out in great detail what ails the sector. It has recommended a set of far-reaching and interlinked reforms to fix the problems it identifies, which include interventions on the supply and demand side. Its most significant proposal is the establishment of a new independent regulatory body, the supply-side regulator for health, at arm’s length from the health department. The regulator will have the following functions: Planning and licensing facilities, including hospitals; Pricing health services, which includes overseeing multilateral tariff negotiations between health-care providers and medical schemes, with independent arbitration should talks fail; Monitoring quality; Conducting economic value assessments.

Parliament extends deadline for NHI Bill submissions

Business Day 02 October 2019 - Business, the DA and civil society organisations welcome the two-week extension to allow them all to better scrutinise the bill’s contents

Parliament called for written submissions in early September, and set an initial deadline of October 11, which it has now extended until November 29. The new deadline for written submissions will not affect the committee’s programme for public hearings, which are due to begin in Mpumalanga on October 25, he said.

Insulin maker Novo Nordisk walks a philanthropic tightrope

Business Day 01 October 2019 - Blend of altruism and commercial imperative animates its near century-old approach

At the Centre for Diabetes in Copenhagen, a cooking class with a difference is under way. Everyone chopping and mixing under the watchful eye of nutritionist Line Fransen Moth is living with type-two diabetes. On the face of it, the kitchen scene presents a paradox. The better people with diabetes can manage their condition, or even overcome it altogether through a healthier lifestyle, the less demand for Novo Nordisk’s signature products. But the company has spent almost a century straddling the sensitive line between making money for its shareholders and fulfilling the mission of its founders, who first ordained in 1924 that any profits should be used for scientific and humanitarian purposes.

WATCH: No need to break up private hospital groups, health market inquiry find

Business Day 01 October 2019 - Business Day TV unpacks the findings of the Competition Commission’s health market inquiry with panel member Ntuthuko Bhengu

The panel looking into the matter recommends more oversight in the sector to help keep those issues at bay. Ntuthuko Bhengu a panel member of the health market inquiry joined Business Day TV to offer perspective on the findings and how it affects the drive towards national health insurance.

New pick-up points for chronic medication opened at Joburg City's four clinics

The Star 01 October 2019 - Four new central chronic medication dispensing and distribution (CCMDD) pick-up point facilities have been opened at four of the City of Joburg's clinics

The CCMDD programme is a national Department of Health initiative aimed at improving access to chronic medication for stable chronic patients in the public sector. The facilities are made possible through a partnership with Cipla Foundation.

You're paying more for private healthcare and getting less, Competition Commission investigation reveals

News24 30 September 2019 - South Africans are paying more for private healthcare than ever before. But forking over more cash for more — and often  unnecessary — care, isn't paying off for consumers,  a five-year investigation by the Competition Commission shows.  

he Competition Commission today released the final report on its health market inquiry in Johannesburg. The 256-page document is the outcome of half a decade  of research  by the body, which included public hearings, written submissions and meetings with key players in the private health industry. The report is also the most detailed picture of private healthcare in the country's history, revealing new details on everything from ownership and profit patterns to how health facilities contract doctors.

How much more you’ll pay for healthcare with Discovery in 2020

Discovery Health Medical Scheme (DHMS) has announced a weighted average annual contribution increase of 9.5% for 2020.

The contributions for members of the Priority, Saver, Smart, Core and KeyCare plans will increase by 8.9%, while the contributions for members of Coastal plans will increase by 9.9%, reflecting the higher claims inflation on these plans.

Publication date: 10/7/2019