Under the current circumstances, no beds are reserved in Life Healthcare’s hospitals for medical aid members.
Matthew Prior, Life Healthcare’s head of medical aid relationships and health policy, says beds cannot be endured in a global pandemic for a certain sector of the health market, whether in wards or regular wards.
“Under the circumstances, beds are made available in our hospitals to whoever arrives first.
“We will manage each patient on a case-by-case basis and care will be provided to patients when and where required, regardless of whether they have medical coverage and whether the bill is paid by the state.”
He says Life Healthcare has in principle entered into an agreement with the state to assist Covid-19 patients if state hospitals can no longer take patients and private hospitals in the area have room for more patients.
Medical scheme members were upset after Rapport reported over the weekend that in the pandemic, membership does not guarantee someone from a bed in a private hospital.
On Monday, Mediclinic also confirmed that beds are not reserved for any patient – whether for medical aid members or government patients.
Prior said the National Department of Health had set the price for treating state patients with Covid-19 in private hospitals, but the agreements between the hospitals and provincial departments have not yet been finalized.
“The hospital groups have agreed to treat patients on a cost recovery basis. So no profit is made on these patients, ”says Prior.
The price that the state will pay is R16 156 per patient per day. This includes hospital costs, but also the costs of a specialist physician team, pathology, radiology and related health services, as well as VAT.
Discovery Health says it is about 30% less than medical aid payments for a bed in the emergency room.
Prior says Life Healthcare currently has 1,004 Covid-19 patients in its hospitals nationally, of which 111 are in emergency units.
The hospital groups Netcare and Mediclinic declined to provide information on these figures.
Prior says their hospitals are seeing more cases in some regions, but are generally able to accommodate Covid-19 patients who need hospitalization.
“In areas where infections are rising sharply, such as the Western and Eastern Cape, the situation regarding available beds is fluid and is regularly looked at.
“Our hospital management teams keep in touch with each other, their doctors and other staff members to ensure that additional beds are made available in case of need.”