5 May 2019

New start-up hopes to improve cover for palliative care

Business Day 3 May 2019 - Alignd offers a new managed care model it says will save money and give patients a greater say in their end of life care

Healthcare start-up firm Alignd is taking aim at medical schemes’ limited provisions for palliative care for cancer patients, and is offering the industry a new managed care model it says will save money and give patients a greater say in their end of life care.Alignd co-founder Shivani Ranchod, who is also CEO of health consultancy Percept, said Alignd had applied to be registered as a managed care organisation with the Council for Medical Schemes, and was in talks with medical scheme administrators and several self-administered schemes. Alignd’s model centres on a concept called “value-based care”, which links doctors’ remuneration to the quality of care they provide to their patients, rather than simply paying them a fixed fee for each service they provide. It also encourages palliative care outside a costly hospital setting. For the article click here.

“Big shift’ to cheaper care

Sunday times 5 May 2019 – An increasing number of medical aid members are downgrading options because of tough economic times.

Medical aid broker Alexander Forbes said the number of corporate clients who reviewed their plans for this year had doubled. For the first time, more people had downgraded than upgraded. Profmed principal officer Craig Comrie said 2019 was the first time the scheme introduced low-cost options and about 3 500 of its 70 000 members had switched. He said the problem with downgrading was that members did not change their claiming patterns but their monthly premiums tended to be lower.

Measles could affect usage of vaccine for HPV-related cancers

Business Day 4 May 2019 - Mistrust of big pharma, and misinformation from Joseph Mercola and right-wing groups, has seen the effective HPV vaccine avoided

To understand why some parents have chosen not to protect their kids from measles, consider why parents shun another well-tested vaccine, which would protect children from a number of devastating forms of cancer. While more than 700 people have been infected by this latest measles outbreak in the US, thousands of young people are unnecessarily being infected with cancer-associated strains of human papillomavirus (HPV). These will slowly, quietly, cause cancer in some of them years later. For the article click here

Comprehensive overview of medical malpractice insurance in SA

BizCommunity 3 May 2019 - comprehensive overview of medical malpractice insurance in SA has now been published by Natmed under the title Understanding Medical Malpractice Insurance in South Africa.

The paper discusses the state of medical malpractice in the country and the need for medical malpractice insurance. The overview includes a succinct review of South African medical malpractice law. The test for negligence in the medical malpractice context is now tried and tested. The report then discusses in some detail medical malpractice insurance and its constituent components. For the article click here For a copy of the ‘Understanding Medical Malpractice Insurance in South Africa.’ Click here

Ebola death toll set to pass 1,000 — helped by political infighting

Business Day 3 May 2019 - The current Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has killed nearly 1,000 people, the UN said on Friday, warning the “intense” spread of the virus was set to persist.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had initially voiced hope it would be able to contain the outbreak declared in August in eastern DRC, thanks in part to a new vaccine. However, in recent weeks senior WHO officials have conceded that lack of security in the restive region, scarce financial resources, and manipulation of the Ebola issue by local politicians to turn people against health workers has seriously undermined the containment effort. For the article click here

The uninvited guest that makes you pay - The 'hidden' costs of cancer for women

BizCommunity 3 May 2019 - While we know of the emotional and physical toll breast cancer can take on a body, what about the financial damage?

With one in four South Africans affected by cancer, the diagnosis of cancer is increasing. In 2013 alone, one percent of the entire population of South Africa died due to breast cancer. Then there’s cervical cancer, which the World Health Organisation reports as the second most common cancer in women worldwide. However, despite its high incidence rate of 500,000 new cases annually, it’s not frequently spoken about – and certainly not from the financial perspective of all the costs involved. For the article click here

NEWS ANALYSIS: Personalities trump health issues as political parties fail to keep promises

Business Day 2 May 2019 - There is neither hard questioning of the government’s progress in implementing National Health Insurance nor public debate on the merits of the DA’s proposed alternative.

Parties campaigning for the May 8 elections are far more focused on personalities than issues, leaving the healthcare promises made by their rivals in their election manifestos virtually unchallenged. There is thus no hard questioning of the government’s progress in realising its ambitions of implementing universal health coverage, which it calls National Health Insurance (NHI), or public debate on the merits or otherwise of the DA’s proposed alternative. The complexity of the issues partly explains why politicians on the campaign trail shy away from healthcare. But for the ANC, part of its reticence may simply be down to fear of losing voters. It has gone quiet on the NHI, caught between a rock and a hard place: For the article click here

Vital National Health lab fires suspended CEO and CFO

Business Day 2 May 2019 - The National Health Laboratory Service officials were guilty of misconduct relating to tenders worth about R200m

The NHLS suspended then CEO Joyce Mogale, and CFO Sikhumbuzo Zulu in February 2017, following allegations of corruption and maladministration leveled by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu). Their disciplinary process was dogged by delays, but was finally concluded on April 30. For the article click here

Gynaecologist’s jail sentence for negligence a worrying precedent — SASOG

Medical Brief 1 May 2019 – Dr Van der Walt is probably one of the first doctors to be sent to prison for negligence with a patient, the report notes.

The SA Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has “noted with significant concern” a High Court judgment that upheld the sentence of of five years direct imprisonment for Dr Danie van der Walt, a gynaecologist who caused the death of a woman through professional negligence. SASOG said the judgment was a worrying precedent and called for “urgent sector-wide law reform”  of the issues the incident raised. For the article click here

JONATHAN BROOMBERG: Why Discovery Health has chosen the cancer treatment path it is on

Business Day 30 April 2019 - Medical scheme believes its solution is a transparent and balanced approach to high-cost medicines

Discovery Health’s data shows that cancer cases increased by over 45% between 2011 and 2018, with almost 8,500 new cases in 2018 alone. As a result, the Discovery Health Medical Scheme has seen an increase of over 100% in the costs of cancer-related treatment, from R1.5bn in 2011 to over R3.5bn in 2018. Encouragingly, new cancer medicines, including biologics and immunotherapy, show great potential to be life saving or life extending. However, these come at an extremely high cost. For the article click here

How we are developing immunotherapies relevant to Africa

BizCommunity 30 April 2019 - The exorbitant costs of cancer drugs make it difficult for public and private healthcare systems to provide the latest treatments to patients.

If this trend continues it will become increasingly difficult for patients to access basic cancer treatment, let alone the new generation of immunotherapy drugs. The University of Cape Town has set up the country’s first medical biotechnology-based immunotherapy laboratory. The lab, where we do our research, is strongly committed to the development of novel therapeutic and diagnostic tools for cancer. For the article click here

Publication date: 5/6/2019