10 February 2019

Commission promises to complete long-overdue Health Market Inquiry

Business Day 5 February 2019 - Constant delays, the latest over its budget, has seen the HMI's original date for completion moved out by more than two years.

The Competition Commission’s Health Market Inquiry (HMI), which has been suspended due to budget constraints, has assured stakeholders that it is committed to finishing its work. Its final report is keenly awaited by the government and the private sector, as it is expected to contain recommendations that will guide future health reforms. In a notice published on the commission’s website on Tuesday, it said HMI would resume at the start of the next financial year, which begins on April 1. A revised administrative timetable and a new publication date for its final report will be announced before the end of the month, it said. For the article click here

Motsoaledi lashes hospital association for 'fear-mongering

Sunday Times 10 February 2019 - The minister has accused the Hospital Association of SA of attempting to sabotage the implementation of the National Health Insurance

This comes after the association's warning last week at Business Unity SA's Business Economic Indaba that thousands of jobs were at stake due to contradictions in the NHI and Medical Schemes Amendment Bills. Motsoaledi also accused Hasa of using the threat of job losses to stymie the work of the health market inquiry (HMI) - chaired by former chief justice Sandile Ngcobo - that is looking into features of the private healthcare sector that prevent, distort or restrict competition. For the article click here

Shareholder move to rejuvenate Netcare board

Sunday Times 10 February 2019 - Shareholders Sanlam, the Public Investment Corp, Visio and BlackRock recently raised concerns over the tenures of some directors

A makeover for the board of hospital group Netcare is in the works after pressure from shareholders over the tenure of its non-executive members, some of whom have been in place for more than 20 years. Netcare CEO Richard Friedland said this week that shareholders Sanlam, the Public Investment Corp (PIC), Visio and BlackRock had recently raised concerns over the tenures of some directors. For the article click here

Increase in medical negligence claims

Sunday Independent 10 February 2019 – To deal with the burden of medical negligence claims the government is amending the State Liability Act.

This amendment will allow for structured payments, otherwise referred to as “pay as you go”. The bill is before Parliament’s portfolio committee on health. There were 203 cases in 2015/16 and 265 cases in 2016/17.

Bonitas members are being offered shopping vouchers

Saturday Star 9 February 2019 – Members of Bonitas Medical Fund can benefit from a multi-insurer platform.

The Fund’s members are being offered shopping vouchers and discounts on insurance products. Gerhard van Emmenis, the principal officer says this offering includes discounted lifestyle vouchers, as well as exclusive offers on gap cover and insurance products. This is not a loyalty programme, there are no points and one does not need to work for rewards.

NHI Bill will soon be ready to go to parliament, says Cyril Ramaphosa

Business Day 7 February 2019 - However, in his Sona, Ramaphosa did not say the contested bill had been approved by the cabinet, suggesting further work may still be done on it before it is considered by MPs

Even if the bill is poised to be tabled in parliament, MPs will not have enough time to process it before the upcoming election in May, as it will have to be considered by both the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces. Both houses of parliament are expected to hold public hearings on the bill. For the article click here

Weighing up the costs of treating lifestyle diseases in South Africa

BizCommunity 7 February 2019 - Economic growth, accompanied by a fall in infectious diseases over the past two decades, has changed the profile of the biggest threats to the health of people living in low and middle-income countries.

Today, the biggest threats are posed by so-called “diseases of lifestyle”. These include diabetes (high blood sugar), hypertension (high blood pressure), and hypercholesterolaemia (high cholesterol), which have been slowly and quietly rising around the world. As far as deathly and debilitating consequences are concerned, we found that poorer black men were at high risk and they had the worst access to care. For the article click here

Post-surgical death stats higher than TB, malaria & HiV combined

BizCommunity 7 February 2019 - A study by researchers at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and University of Birmingham shows that 4.2-million people die each year within 30 days of surgery, more than from HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria combined (2.9-million).

Half the post-surgical deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). There is also a significant unmet need for surgery in LMICs and researchers believe that if operations were provided for all patients who need them the number of global post-operative deaths would increase to 6.1-million per year. For the article click here

Activists call on Cyril Ramaphosa to tackle healthcare crisis

Sunday Times 6 February 2019 - Section 27 says the government has become fixated on the NHI Bill at the expense of fixing the health system

Ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa's state of the nation address on Thursday, health activists have called on him to take concrete action to fix the health system rather than focusing on the long-promised national health insurance (NHI) scheme. The ANC-led government has been pushing for NHI since 2009, but has yet to drive through any reform to breathe life into the policy, which aims to provide everyone with health services that are free at the point of delivery. For the article click here

How will the NHI Bill affect employer medical aid contributions?

BizCommunity 5 February 2019 - once the NHI Bill is promulgated, employers will most likely have to contribute towards the NHI Fund and it appears that they would no longer be expected to contribute to private medical aid schemes on behalf of their employees, unless they elect to make both contributions. 

Where an employer chooses to cease making private medical aid contributions on behalf of its employees, as a result of the introduction of the NHI Fund, this may result in a unilateral change to the employees’ terms and conditions or a potential unfair labour practice relating to the withdrawal of benefits. This is especially the case if the changes are not effected in the appropriate manner. Click here for the full article

Private hospitals warn draft NHI laws threaten 132,000 jobs

Business Day 5 February 2019 - Hospital Association of SA says National Health Insurance legislation will hit private hospital sector’s future investment and capital expenditure

National Health Insurance (NHI), which the government is pushing as the solution to SA’s health crisis, could lead to the loss of up to 132,000 jobs, according to the country’s private hospital groups. Hasa commissioned economics consultancy Econex to analyse the potential effect of the National Health Insurance Bill and the Medical Schemes Amendment Bill, which were released for public comment last June. It noted about R180bn is spent on private healthcare in SA each year, a third of which is spent on private hospitals. The three JSE-listed hospitals — Netcare, Mediclinic and Life Healthcare, which make up about two thirds of the sector — contribute about R55.5bn to GDP a year. It provided two scenarios to illustrate the economy-wide effect of two different policy paths. For the article click here

Experts call for greater access to vaccine against cervical-cancer virus

Business Day 5 February 2019 - WHO agency estimates 570,000 new cases were diagnosed in 2018, making this the fourth-most common malignant tumour in women globally

Every year, more than 310,000 women die of cervical cancer, the vast majority in poorer countries with low rates of immunisation rates against the human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes it. In wealthy countries, some antivaccine campaigners are also persuading parents to refuse the shot for their children, leaving them at risk, IARC said. For the article click here

Publication date: 2/10/2019