3 March 2019

Hasa is not opposing the NHI

Sunday Independent 3 March 2019 – The Hospital Association of South Africa (Hasa) has never stated opposition to the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme.

The Free Market Foundation is staunchly opposed to the NHI; and on the other hand the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, came out strongly on the side of NHI. Both drew Hasa into the fray and sought to characterise it as being opposed. This is not true. Two CEOs of private hospital groups made clear from the podium their willingness to positively contribute to interventions to achieve universal healthcare. Then as now, an accompanying appeal was made for increased policy clarity and urgent collaboration.

Five more Esidimeni patients found - but 16 still unaccounted for

Sunday Times 3 March 2019 – The Gauteng health department has located five of the 21 unaccounted-for mental health patients that were discharged from Life Esidimeni.

Gauteng health MEC Gwen Ramakgopa visited families of two patients - one in Lenasia, the other one in Soweto - who were located two weeks ago. Ramokgopa said the department had located five patients in the past two weeks. One of them had been admitted to Weskoppies psychiatric hospital. For the article click here

Crossed wires over free care for foreigners at state hospitals

Sunday Times 3 March 2019 – Gauteng directive to hospitals hastily withdrawn by Department

The national department of health has moved to distance itself from an instruction that state hospitals should turn away foreigners unless they pay in full.

Better not to know total NHI cost

Sunday Times 3 March 2019 – Health minister says total cost estimate difficult to make

SA’s pursuit of universal healthcare still remains as shrouded with uncertainty as it was when it began some seven years ago. The Minister says “When we implement a particular programme of the NHI, we will cost it. I’m not saying that there is going to be no costing, but I’m saying costing the whole programme of NHI for the whole population over a lifetime period, you can’t do.” Professor Alex van den Heever at the Wits School of Governance says the NHI is unimplementable. He describes it as a vanity project, because SA is not in a position to finance it.

New ARV comes with curb

Sunday Times 3 March 2019 – The Health department is pushing forward with its plans to roll out a combination antiretroviral (ARV) drug despite concerns that it may cause birth defects.

This month pharmaceutical companies were awarded a three year tender to provide the state with triple combination ARVs including DLT. Women of child bearing age will be excluded until the results are finanlised.

What medical aid scams cost you

The Citizen 1 March 2019 – Nearly a quarter of your monthly contribution is lost through false claims and abuse.

The medical aid industry is coughing up more than R22 billion every year to cover fraud. This was according to Katlego Mothudi, managing director of the Board of Healthcare Funders of SA who spoke to the Citizen during the Council for Medical scheme’s Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Summit. “Potential saving on contributions, if we eliminate fraud would be between 5% and 25%”, he said. According to Dr Sipho Kababe, Registrar at the Council for Medical Schemes, the intended outcome of the summit was for industry players to sign a charter as a pledge to combat fraud, waste and abuse in the private healthcare sector.

NHI is an opportunity to access orphan drugs

BizCommunity 28 February 2019 - The success of this ambitious plan (NHI implementation) and the quality of service lies in the hands of a number of the private health sector's stakeholders - many of which met recently to discuss challenges and proposed solutions, especially those impacting access for orphan drugs.

“When it comes to patient access we believe that new, viable models to improve access can only be addressed if elevated to a higher political level within each stakeholder constituency and developed through collective conversation involving all stakeholders – which is exactly what this stakeholder meeting aimed to achieve," says Kelly du Plessis, CEO and Founder of Rare Diseases SA. With parties including the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra), the Council for Medical Schemes, IPASA as well as large medical schemes among others in attendance, dialogue focused on access not only in terms of contentious prescribed minimum benefits (PMBs) and Section 21, but also on orphan drugs and their availability and cost in South Africa. For the article click here

Is NHI going to make the SA economy even sicker?

BizCommunity 27 February 2019 - Concerns raised by the Hospital Association of SA (Hasa) over contradictions in the National Health Insurance (NHI) and the Medical Schemes Amendment that could lead to potential job losses has raised the ire of the national health minister.

The organisation has been accused of "fear-mongering" and attempting to sabotage the implementation of NHI by Health Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi,, but Hasa chairperson Melanie da Costa provides two scenarios to demonstrate the economic effects of two different policy paths. In the first scenario, which combines the provisions of the two bills and assumes government would not purchase any private hospital services under the NHI, Hasa estimates 9, 600 jobs would be lost in the private sector and R31bn shed from South Africa's GDP. The second scenario includes the effects of price regulation, with a proposed cap on prices at levels 23% lower than they are at present. Under this scenario, 13, 000 jobs would be lost. Apart from job losses in the private hospital sector, implementing the NHI is fiscally unaffordable and comes at a time when the country is struggling to keep the lights on and the wheels of the economy spinning. We estimate that NHI will cost taxpayers R446.8bn in 2018 prices. For the article click here

Eastern Cape Health forging ahead with NHI

BizCommunity 27 February 2019 - Government has opened two new state-of-the-art clinics in rural Eastern Cape as it moves towards universal access to healthcare.

The opening of the clinics is part of implementing the re-engineering of primary healthcare as a cornerstone to the National Health Insurance (NHI). The Eastern Cape Department of Health said it is leveraging on lessons learnt from the OR Tambo and Alfred Nzo provincial pilot sites to roll out the next phase of its NHI readiness programmme to the rest of the health districts in the province. For the article click here

What to do about South Africa's unemployed doctors

BizCommunity 25 February 2019 – It’s a new year but the same headline-grabbing story: Qualified doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthworkers sitting idle with the kind of degrees we typically think would be immune to economic downturns.

“One hundred young qualified doctors and pharmacists unemployed in KZN” one news story reads. The freezing of provincial health posts has become increasingly common in the past three years amid health budgets that are shrinking in real terms.Before 2012, South African public health expenditure grew by as much as 7% year on year — driven by the costs of the country’s successful HIV treatment programme. Our reading of the 2016/17- 2018/19 Medium Term Expenditure Framework finds that although the health budget is increasing beyond inflation isn’t enough to keep up with the higher inflation rate for healthcare products and treatment, often called medical inflation and salary increases, a 2017 Rural Health Advocacy Project (Rhap) working paper argues. For the article click here

Publication date: 3/3/2019