Private healthcare to take state COVID-19 patients at a financial loss

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Private healthcare groups told both houses of Parliament‘s health committees that the rate the state will pay to take patients from the public sector is less than the cost to them – but they will take these patients. News24 reports that representatives from Life Healthcare and Netcare made presentations to the committees last week.

Matthew Prior, Life Healthcare’s funder relations and health policy executive, said that, after negotiations, the private healthcare sector agreed to take patients from the public sector at a cost of R16,000 per bed, per day. He said this would not cover their stock used on patients in intensive care units. “It is not a sustainable rate,” he said. He said the public sector will decide which patients go to private hospitals.

“Dealing with this COVID pandemic is so difficult,” Life Healthcare CEO Adam Pyle said. “The biggest challenge we’ll have is staff capacity and beds capacity.” He said infections come in waves. They’ll move staff between provinces, and have already moved staff to the Eastern and Western Cape provinces.

Netcare CEO Richard Friedland also said the tariff the state will pay is lower than their costs, but they have accepted it in good faith. “We will take anyone based on their need at the time,” he said.

Full News24 report

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