Medshield has paved the way for the adoption of telemedicine in SA - Medshield

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Medshield has paved the way for the adoption of telemedicine in SA

Posted in Medshield Medical Scheme   |   April 17th, 2020

Medshield committed to supporting members with access to quality care during Covid-19 pandemic.

As the number of confirmed Coronavirus Covid-19 cases rise every day in SA, many people are wondering whether they’ll get adequate medical attention should they be diagnosed with the virus.

Medshield Medical Scheme says the scheme aims to continue offering excellent support to members during this difficult and uncertain time and calls for a collaborative approach in the interest of health and wellness for all South Africans.

Thoneshan Naidoo, principal officer of Medshield Medical Scheme confirms the scheme’s dedication to ensuring all members and their dependents continue to receive the much-needed quality healthcare amid the Covid-19 pandemic. “At Medshield, our vision is ‘caring about you towards a healthier nation’, and in challenging times like these it is now more important than ever that we come together to fulfil our vision,” says Naidoo. 

“If the test is positive, Medshield will cover the diagnosis, treatment and care costs from the risk benefit pool as a PMB, irrespective of your chosen benefit option.”

Medshield confirms that its members are covered for testing and treatment as a result of the virus. “Medshield is well-placed to weather this storm for and with our members. We have a solvency ratio of 41% (significantly higher than the mandatory 25% and considerably higher than most of the competing open schemes) to ensure that we can meet the demands of increased hospitalisation and heightened burden of care due to Covid-19,” says Naidoo.

“We have prepared our business continuity plans to maintain the high levels of service that our members expect from us. This is not a selective crisis, Covid-19 is a national crisis and we all need to work together as South Africans. We are proud of our president and government’s swift action to mitigate the impact of this crisis. It is true that we are all taking strain economically, but we can always resuscitate a strained economy, but we can never resuscitate the dead bodies of our people. We are in this together and we need to overcome this crisis together.”

The scheme ensures continued access to care for its members and their holistic well-being, particularly with the onset of the flu season. “We are at the onset of the seasonal flu and with the Covid-19 impact it is more important than ever, especially for high-risk members, to get the flu vaccine, which is available at Medshield Pharmacy Network providers, Clicks Pharmacies and selected Medshield SmartCare Clinics,” says Naidoo. 

As more people are tested for the virus, the issue of whether a medical scheme will cover the diagnosis and/or treatment of Covid-19 becomes a concern. “Medshield has embraced the cover for Covid-19 as a prescribed minimum benefit (PMB) before it became the norm to cover Covid-19 as a PMB when a diagnosis is positive.” 

PMBs are predetermined conditions that a scheme covers under its benefit offering. 

“When visiting a healthcare professional, or being tested for the Covid-19 virus, the costs will be paid from your day-to-day/savings limit (depending on your chosen benefit option), whether the diagnosis is positive or negative.

“If the test is positive, Medshield will cover the diagnosis, treatment and care costs from the risk benefit pool as a PMB, irrespective of your chosen benefit option. In other words, these costs will not be paid from your current 2020 benefits,” says Naidoo.

The scheme says it is important for all members of the public to adhere to the rules announced by the president and the standards of the World Health Organisation. “The decisive measures announced by our president best explains the importance of preventative measures such as social distancing and its role in slowing down the impact of the virus,” says Naidoo. Medshield has organised for members to access their current doctors via remote consultation (telephonic and video) – without having to consult physically in the doctor’s rooms.

“Technology and embracing the 4IR can play a critical role in ensuring members are more empowered to take care of their health while lowering barriers to affordable, quality healthcare and increasing convenience to members.”

“Medshield SmartCare has paved the way for the adoption of telemedicine in SA. Sustainable partnerships with clinics and pharmacies, allows a member to see a nurse who will conduct an initial assessment based on the patient needs and if necessary, dial up a GP who does a virtual consultation. Together they will decide on how you should be treated and give you guidance,” he says. 

Since this programme’s launch in July 2019, it has received very positive feedback, as it is not only convenient, but it puts the trust back into healthcare, and more recently is a way of accessing a GP during the current Covid-19 lockdown period.

“High-risk members who get infected with the virus are likely to require critical healthcare, but through the preventative and social distancing measures we are practising, the timing of their healthcare intervention could be staggered over a longer time frame of three to six months.

“This allows our healthcare system to better cope with the demand of the critically ill at the right time, resulting in overall better and healthier outcomes for all. We need to do what is right and work together as the complete health value chain, not only looking after our own bit,” says Naidoo.

With a history that dates back over 51 years, the scheme is driven by its mission to provide access to affordable high-quality healthcare through partnerships at very competitive prices in comparison to the market.

Medshield confirmed its position as a transparent and sensible supporter of national initiatives to provide greater access to quality healthcare for all South Africans especially during this pandemic.

This article appeared in Business Day on 17/04/2020 and is a paid for article by Medshield Medical Scheme.


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