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Mediclinic News : Independent day hospitals offer a cost-effective alternative

Title

Independent day hospitals offer a cost-effective alternative

Date

2016-10-11

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News Description

MEDIA RELEASE: The Day Hospital Association of South Africa Double-digit increases in medical aid member contributions already announced by medical schemes for 2017 perpetuate the dilemma the industry finds itself in, namely to accept increases imposed by private healthcare service providers and recover these increases from members. Bert von Wielligh, chairman of the Hospital Association of South Africa (DHASA), said very little is done to break this impasse, but the members of the association offer substantial relief in this spiral in the form of cost-effective fees for same-day surgical procedures. The association represents a national day-hospital footprint of 41 facilities throughout South Africa and forms part of the National Hospital Network (NHN). One of the problem areas in private healthcare is the disproportionate increase in private hospital costs in relation to other increases. The state-of-the-art day hospital facilities offer surgical procedures which can be performed on a one-day basis. Day hospitals are compact and custom-designed and equipped for a wide range of surgeries. Staff overheads are reduced to one shift per day and patients and specialists benefit from streamlined admission and turn-around times. Acute hospitals are designed to cater for patients who are seriously ill and in need of additional facilities such as high care wards and intensive care units. Many of these patients are admitted for more than one day. Von Wielligh said that thanks to modern surgical techniques and equipment, some 70 percent of surgeries can be performed safely in a day hospital, with substantial savings for patients and medical schemes. International research has confirmed savings in excess of 30 percent, he said. The savings have already been acknowledged by many schemes, after Discovery Health took the lead by offering specialists an incentive to operate in a day hospital to reduce costs. These savings benefit medical-schemes and uninsured patients alike. Government employee scheme GEMS also promotes the use of day hospitals, saying these procedures are known to be cost-effective and are encouraged in principle. Polmed recently reaffirmed that surgery in day hospitals affiliated with the National Hospital Network requires no member co-payment on its Aquarium option. Von Wielligh said the utilisation of day hospitals in South African lags behind the rest of the world, but we are experiencing an upswing in patient numbers as the crippling cost increases force medical schemes and patients to search for viable alternatives to acute hospital treatments where possible. He said many day hospitals are running at occupancies between 30 percent and 50 percent, and have the capacity to double their volumes. They are ready for the migration of same-day surgical procedures from acute hospitals to day hospitals, which are specifically designed for short-stay procedures. Von Wielligh said DHASA is optimistic that cost pressure will steer more patients to day hospitals, in their own interest. The drive by many medical schemes to promote day hospital utilisation is encouraging and a proactive move to prevent a further loss of members, or a downscaling in the options members subscribe to, as fees continue to escalate to levels of unaffordability.
Created at 2016/10/18 04:52 PM by Mediclinic
Last modified at 2016/10/18 04:52 PM by Mediclinic