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How South Africans can save money with day hospitals

08 October 2020 Affinity Health

Affinity Health says day hospitals across South Africa are transforming the surgical experience for millions of patients by providing a cost-effective and convenient alternative to hospital-based surgery.

By this time of year, most people have started receiving notifications from their medical aid providers announcing next year’s fee increases. If you’re feeling the crunch of rising medical costs, Affinity Health recommend utilising day hospitals to minimise medical aid fee increases.

"South Africans with access to private healthcare should think differently about where they go for certain surgical procedures because this has a direct bearing on their costs,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

“While some consumers downgrade their medical plans or consider more competitive offerings, it’s far easier to simply stay in control of medical expenses incurred throughout the year, and by doing so helps keep premium increases to a minimum."

Surgical procedures performed in acute hospitals are one of the main reasons for double-figure fee hikes because they’re particularly expensive. But while undergoing surgery can seldom be avoided, the costs around it can be managed.
What people can and should do is choose to have certain procedures performed in day hospitals. Ask your doctor if the procedure can be performed in a day hospital and chances are that if an overnight stay isn’t required, it can be.

Almost 70 percent of all surgical procedures can be performed safely in a day hospital but only 15 percent are currently being done. And these include some of the most common procedures such as colonoscopies, repairing fractures, grommets, biopsies, the removal of tonsils and simple and superficial tumours, and numerous other day-case surgeries.

Apart from the clear cost-benefit, there are several other advantages to using day hospitals. These include:
• Quicker turnaround time
• No staff shifts/rotation – work with the people you know
• Nursing staff involved in all aspects of the patients stay
• Assistance with pre-authorisations
• Flexible and negotiable co-payments
• Day Clinic is a safer / easier controllable environment, less risk
• Doctors form part of the system to reduce costs for the industry
• Safeguard funders reserves
• More Patients can be reached
• Lower costs for the same procedures

Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs), can be life-threatening to ill or post-surgery patients who are exposed to them. There are often picked up in intensive care units and contracted in hospital environments, worsened by steadily-rising incidences of antibiotic resistance. There is a lower risk of contracting HAIs among patients who attend day hospitals, for outpatient surgeries.

The big question is: if there’s a way to take the power back into your own hands by insisting upon more cost-effective alternatives, why not do so?

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