Health departments 'still discussing' COVID-19 deals with private hospitals

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South Africa’s three largest private hospital groups, Netcare, Mediclinic and Life Healthcare, are still in discussions with provincial health departments to allow public COVID-19 patients to be treated at private facilities. According to a Mail & Guardian report that this is ahead of the anticipated spike in COVID-19 infections and the possible scenario where the country’s public health facilities run out of adequate hospital beds and staff.

The national Health Department has already agreed to pay private hospitals R16,000 a day for a COVID-19 patient. The cost includes the use of the bed, staff salaries and compensation for a team of specialists, radiologists, pathologists and other health workers.

The report says although the national Health Department has set the price for treating critical COVID-19 patients in private facilities, agreements between private hospitals and provincial health departments have not yet been concluded.

Netcare’s director for strategy and health policy, Melanie da Costa, said that negotiations with Gauteng and the Western Cape are at an advanced stage while discussions with other provinces are ongoing.

Hospital groups have experienced significant revenue losses as a result of the lockdown, because under the regulations some procedures were classified as non-essential and were cancelled.

Full Mail & Guardian report

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