15 September 2019

As NHI looms, should Adrian Gore be more worried?

Business Day 12 September 2019 – As the government forges ahead with plans to introduce National Health Insurance, SA’s largest medical aid administrator is facing its biggest battle yet.

It doesn’t help that this comes at a time when not only is Discovery launching a bank, but analysts are also pointing to opaque disclosure, aggressive accounting, high financial leverage and weak cash generation. How bad is it really? But with SA on the brink of a rating downgrade, unemployment having deepened to 29%, a wave of xenophobic-based looting and an inexplicably brutal spate of violence against women, has Gore changed his tune? The criticism clearly worries Gore. "The market sentiment has been concerning and we take this seriously," he says. The NHI’s impact on SA’s private health-care system worries international investors, he adds, but "we don’t believe that these risks are likely to manifest and have worked hard to try to correct the perception".

AfroCentric’s drive to expand lifts full-year results

Business Day 13 September 2019 - In its financial year to end-June, the investment holding company concluded four acquisitions

In the financial year, the company concluded the acquisitions of Sanlam Health, iThrive Business Solutions Group, a 74% interest in Activo Health and an additional 25% stake in AFA Botswana. The group, which owns Medscheme, said its profit before tax fell 1.8% to R528.5m while its operating profit excluding lease reversals increased 8.8% to R677.7m. 

Kenya becomes third African nation to introduce malaria vaccine

Business Day 13 September 2019 - Homa Bay programme is the government’s first step towards creating awareness of world’s first malaria vaccine

Kenya on Friday added the world’s first malaria vaccine to the routine immunisation schedule for children under two, becoming the third country in Africa to roll out the vaccine for the disease that kills one child globally every two minutes.

Rebuilding health systems from the bottom up: A South African case study

BizCommunity 12 August 2019 - The recent publication of the National Health Insurance Bill in South Africa has provoked vigorous debate.

There is widespread recognition that health system legislation alone will not address the deep seated problems in both sectors. Top-down reforms like those proposed in the NHI Bill need to be complemented by a bottom-up process of strengthening health systems. This must be focused on the most decentralised level of the health system, the district health system. South Africa’s public health system is organised into 52 health districts.

CARMEL RICKARD: Where to draw the line on employee health?

Business Day 12 September 2019 - What is an employer to do if a medical condition precludes a staffer from fulfilling her responsibilities?

If an employee has a medical problem and can’t carry out her duties as before, what are the obligations of her employer? Is the employer obliged to ensure she loses weight, and visits a biokineticist and dietician, as recommended by an occupational therapist? Or is it the responsibility of the staffer to take that action?

What’s wrong with the NHI Bill? Let us count the ways

Business Day 11 September 2019 – NHI contributions would be based on income, this would necessitate those 2.1-million South Africans each paying in an additional R11,202 per month

A lot of commentary has been delivered in the last two weeks, since the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill was introduced to parliament on August 8, covering its ramifications for the health industry and the country at large. But we also need to focus on what is not stated in the bill, as it is here that the bill’s implementation will really be tested. To begin with, this bill needs to be placed in context. Historically, since the 1920s, SA has conducted more than 10 such reviews. This latest edition is therefore not the first time an attempt has been made to come up with a revised system that will benefit all citizens. However, first we have to acknowledge that SA’s fiscus is stretched.

Health oversight bodies pressure Mkhize on NHI, Busa wins concession

Medical Brief 11 September 2019 - National Health Insurance (NHI) plans this week came under unexpected pressure from healthcare oversight bodies on the issues of independence and funding

The Health Ombud wants  Parliament to review NHI-related legislation that causes his office to report to the minister; the Office of Health Standards Compliance, and the Council of Medical Schemes both want bigger budgets to meet increased NHI responsibilities, and Business Unity SA is enter into direct bilateral negotiations with government over its NHI concerns.

Former CEO wins 5-year saga against Selfmed – and keeps R1.3m

Medical Brief 11 September 2019 - After a five-year legal battle between the medical scheme Selfmed and its former CEO, a Cape high court judge this week ruled in favour of Leon Bester, enabling him to keep more than R1.3m in awards and expenses

Last year his wife Martha Bester also won a case against Selfmed and was awarded R1.19m for accrued leave. On 2 September 2019, Judge MI Samela dismissed Selfmed’s claims for the return of money paid to Bester, and ordered the scheme to pay Bester’s legal costs as well as the qualifying costs of two expert witnesses.

NHI requires cooperation between public and private health care systems

Business Day 11 September 2019 – The rationale of the upcoming National Health Insurance (NHI) is a no-brainer

Having medical coverage makes people healthier and enables them to get the care they need when they get sick or are injured. However, when the conversation on the National Health Insurance Bill remains vague and short on implementation, it produces anxiety and hostile responses.

KZN lifts ban on recruiting foreign doctors set up during xenophobic attacks

Business Day 11 September 2019 - KwaZulu-Natal’s health department published a circular last week banning the recruitment of foreign doctors.

The department said it wants to make space for newly qualified locals who are returning from training in Cuba. The department has recruited “a huge number” of SA citizens to be trained as doctors in Cuba, and will have insufficient posts and funds to absorb them unless the recruitment and employment of foreign doctors is halted, he said. The KwaZulu-Natal health department employs 336 foreign doctors from 57 countries, according to a statement issued by the IFP.

One brain injury raises dementia risk decades later, study shows

Business Day 09 September 2019 - Imperial College research finds some patients would benefit

A single serious head injury can lead to brain damage decades later even if the patient apparently makes a complete recovery in the short term, researchers at Imperial College London have found.

18 suspended Gauteng Health officials still earning a year later

Medical Brief 11 September 2019 - Gauteng Health has paid more than R2 million to 18 officials placed on suspension with full pay for almost a year

Masuku said his department has 18 cases of officials who have been facing disciplinary action for offences dating back more than six months ago. Masuku said is department had paid out R2,052,453.93

Publication date: 9/15/2019