June 2015 – A good month of interesting meetings

This past month has been a good one for interesting meetings, and they combined two of my big passions: health and business.
Here are some of the highlights:

  1. Celynn Erasmus book launch – The F.A.B. Quotient- Fuel, Activate, Behave
  2. PPHF meeting on Health Innovation – Lentegeur Hospital

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Open house as Open schemes start to announce their Contribution increases for 2015

The trend for the past number of years continues and supports the Minister of Health’s call for an investigation into the ever increasing costs of private health care. Sadly the announcements made so far continue the past trend of a number of years now wherein medical scheme member contributions increase well above the normal inflation rate namely CPI -consumer price index. Healthcare inflation has been higher than CPI-linked inflation for most of the past decade. Continue reading

Singing off the same song sheet

Something that might have been missed on Budget day was the fact that the Minister of Health presented a report on the 11 NHI Pilot Projects to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Health.

His main message was that for NHI to be implemented two things are required to happen:

  1. Improve infrastructure and quality delivered in the public sector; and
  2. Reduce the out of control escalation of costs in the private sector.

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What’s wrong with Hello Doctor?

We all know that improving access to health care is an important stepping stone on our often-repeated goal of providing healthcare to all in South Africa. It is something I have heard again and again in meetings with the public and private sector and also in the portfolio committee meetings I attend.

Imagine my surprise, then, to see the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) issuing a public warning against accessing doctors’ expertise telephonically and via a mobile application.

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Tracking trends in the health industry.

I was asked to give some pointers on Medical scheme Health care trends and thought that a good friend and outstanding Actuary and Health consultant Barry Childs of Lighthouse would be the best to assist me with some statistical information. Barry did not let me down and generous assisted me. Well, thanks Barry, and here is the outcome.

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Mind the gap.

It seems that Gap Cover is here to stay. In a decision which would have been welcomed by the insurance industry and received with rather more reservations by the medical schemes, the Treasury is now proposing that companies be allowed to continue selling gap cover and hospital cash plans under certain conditions.

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Is Universal Care the foundation of best health outcomes for a nation?

I have for some time being exploring and trying to find the ideal and most effective International health care systems. To me such a system would meet the R.A.C.E. criteria namely:-

  • Rational
  • Appropriate
  • Cost effective

While these words mean different things to different people I am looking at a system of care that has the highest Health outcomes for the lowest cost and meets all the requirements of Coordination of care.

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CMS annual report gives the good and bad news.

The Council for Medical Schemes released its annual report in Cape Town this week, and it made for some very interesting reading.

It turns out that despite a final surplus of R3.7 billion, most schemes are operating at a break-even position to maintain their reserve levels and are using investment income to subsidise their costs.

The report was a litany of “yes but…” comments. What do I mean by that?

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