Are day hospitals the answer to rising healthcare costs?

Advanced Health Limited on day hospitalization

Bibi Goss-Ross, group operations manager, Advanced Health Limited

South Africans are faced with the constant increases in the cost of living and an ailing economy, forcing consumers to cut down on spending across the board. 

For a small percentage of the population, healthcare costs are covered by medical aid but only an estimated 16% of South Africans have such coverage while the rest rely on an already overburdened healthcare system. Continuing downward pressure on the economy is pushing even those with medical cover to either reduce it, or outright terminate their membership just to make ends meet, leaving more and more South Africans vulnerable.

While there are several factors contributing to the increase in private healthcare costs, including the volatile exchange rate and its impact on the cost of importing medical equipment, the rising costs of medication, doctors’ fees, the increasing average age of principal members on the schemes, the biggest culprit is private hospital costs. According to the Council for Medical Schemes’ 2014-2015 report, hospital fees constitute the bulk of fees paid by medical schemes with total hospital expenditure amounting to 37.6%, of the R124.1-billion that medical schemes paid to all healthcare providers in 2014. This was an 11.6% increase in expenditure on hospitals from the previous year and this trend has not abated.

Whether we like it or not, the reality is that healthcare costs in SA – especially private hospitals have become too expensive. The compound hospital cost escalation of 15% per annum is unaffordable and is not sustainable in our healthcare environment. But what most South Africans are not aware of is that there are options which can have a direct bearing on hospitalisation expenses. Some 70 percent of surgical procedures, currently done in acute hospitals, can safely be performed in a day surgery facility. Day hospitals across the world are transforming the surgical experience for millions of patients by providing them with a more convenient alternative to acute hospital based surgery, achieving the highest quality standards and positive patient experiences, with the up-swing of cost effectiveness

In South Africa, day hospitals offer significant opportunities to improve the efficiency of private hospitalisation.  Locally, only approximately 13 percent of all surgical procedures are attended to in day hospitals, an extremely low figure compared to the almost 70 percent international utilisation of day hospitals. The potential to increase the use of day hospitals is significant, bringing clear benefits to both patients and medical schemes. Several factors influence the cost model of day hospitals: no large catering facilities, no ICU or specialised theatre, no overnight beds to cater for and no after hour staff costs, no emergency unit and more reasonable per minute theatre fees compared to an acute facility.

Patients can get value for money and an increasing number of medical schemes are advocating day hospitals for same day short stay surgery. We see synergy between day hospitals and acute facilities which should focus on ill, long stay patients needing the care, support and necessary environment available at a large hospital facility.

We’ve moved on since the early 1980’s where day case surgery was more focused on dental care and minor procedures. These days any patient not requiring an overnight stay and is relatively healthy, can be operated on in a day hospital. The evolution of healthcare has changed all this and in Advanced Health day hospitals, various disciplines are catered for, ranging from plastic surgery, gynaecological, general, orthopaedics, urology, maxillofacial surgery and a number of dental and ophthalmic procedures.  The case and benefits in favour of the model for admitting healthier patients in need of same-day surgery are evident.

Day hospitals across the world are transforming the surgical experience for millions of patients by providing them with a more convenient alternative to hospital based surgery, achieving the highest quality standards and positive patient experiences cost effectively. It’s time for South Africans to take advantage of the many benefits of this option.

 

Submitted by: Bibi Goss-Ross, group operations manager, Advanced Health Limited



Latest


18 Jan 2021
SA failed to get its act together on vaccines: here’s how

By Shabir A. Madhi, University of the Witwatersrand South Africa has an estimated population approaching 60 million. To achieve herd immunity against COVID-19,…

SA failed to get its act together on vaccines: here’s how

By Shabir A. Madhi, University of the Witwatersrand South Africa has an estimated population approaching 60 million. To achieve herd immunity against COVID-19, the government recently set the ambitious goal of vaccinating 67% of the population – roughly 40 million people. According to the outline of this plan, this would be achieved within 2021. But…

18 Jan 2021
Foreign holdings of nominal SAGBs increase to 35.7% in December

By RMB Research According to the National Treasury (NT), combined holdings (fixed-rate and inflation-linked) of government bonds increased to 29.9%…

Foreign holdings of nominal SAGBs increase to 35.7% in December

By RMB Research According to the National Treasury (NT), combined holdings (fixed-rate and inflation-linked) of government bonds increased to 29.9% in December from 29.7% in November. Nominal (fixed-rate) SAGBs: Investor holdings as at the end of December 2020 are as follows:Non-resident investors hold 35.7% (R791.78bn).Monetary authorities hold 22.6% (R501.79bn).Official pension funds…

18 Jan 2021
Getting to grips with private market investments

Investors put their money in expert hands to grow it through investments in shares, bonds, cash and property. These are traditional investment…

Getting to grips with private market investments

Investors put their money in expert hands to grow it through investments in shares, bonds, cash and property. These are traditional investment types available on the stock exchanges of most public markets. However investors can also choose to invest in alternative investments – available in private markets. This gives them access to investment types that are not available…

12 Jan 2021
Steven Nathan steps down as CEO of 10X Investments

After 15 years at the helm, 10X Investments’ founder and CEO Steven Nathan has resigned, effective 31 December 2020, in…

Steven Nathan steps down as CEO of 10X Investments

After 15 years at the helm, 10X Investments’ founder and CEO Steven Nathan has resigned, effective 31 December 2020, in order to pursue other interests.  This is according to a statement issued today. The statement says: In line with 10X’s succession plans, the company’s Executive Chairman, Henk Beets, will assume responsibility…


Top stories


10 Sep 2020
How too much choice is draining your brain

By: Paul Nixon, head of technical marketing and behavioural finance at Momentum Investments From the words of Francis Scott Key…

How too much choice is draining your brain

By: Paul Nixon, head of technical marketing and behavioural finance at Momentum Investments From the words of Francis Scott Key that dubbed America “The land of the free”, which stuck, to the unforgettable Mel Gibson monologue where an army of painted Scots were willing to trade their lives for the…

13 Apr 2020
Investors should keep a reasonable investment allocation outside of SA

MoneyMarketing asked Roland Gräbe, the head of Tailored Fund Portfolios at Old Mutual Wealth, about offshore investments in the COVID-19…

Investors should keep a reasonable investment allocation outside of SA

MoneyMarketing asked Roland Gräbe, the head of Tailored Fund Portfolios at Old Mutual Wealth, about offshore investments in the COVID-19 environment and what form a global market recovery will take.

13 Apr 2020
SA’s Proposed Covid-19 Disaster Management Tax Relief

The National Treasury recently issued the draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Bill (Bill) for public comment by 15 April. The…

SA’s Proposed Covid-19 Disaster Management Tax Relief

The National Treasury recently issued the draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Bill (Bill) for public comment by 15 April. The draft Bill, together with its explanatory memorandum, provides clarity with regards the tax relief measures President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on 23 March.

10 Apr 2020
When the going gets tough, farmers are on familiar territory

South African farmers are old hands at adapting to uncertain and daunting circumstances, and our local agricultural industry has proved…

When the going gets tough, farmers are on familiar territory

South African farmers are old hands at adapting to uncertain and daunting circumstances, and our local agricultural industry has proved to be most enterprising in acclimatising to challenges as they arise.


Visit the official COVID-19 government website to stay informed: sacoronavirus.co.za