Discovery's head office in Sandton.
  • Discovery Health will move its members who don't have Covid-19 to other hospitals to ease pressure on ICUs.  
  • Government hospitals may run out of beds before the end of July, which could mean more state-sector patients in private hospitals.
  • But Discovery says that at the moment, there are enough beds. 
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Discovery has committed to moving its medical scheme members to other hospitals, across the country, if ICUs run out of beds amid the current coronavirus crisis.

South Africa now has more than 370,000 Covid-19 cases – which puts it among the top-five most affected countries in the world.

Government hospitals may run out of beds before the end of July, which would mean more state-sector patients in private hospitals. Private hospitals have agreed with government to treat Covid-19 patients at set prices. 

Dr Ryan Noach, CEO of Discovery Health, says that if ICUs are nearing capacity, the company will move members to different hospitals

“In the event that ICU bed capacity is seen to be threatened or diminishing to dangerously low levels, Discovery Health will work with the hospitals, the treating doctors, and the members’ families to move members being treated for non-Covid related conditions, to ICUs where sufficient surplus capacity exists.

"This would serve to free up additional capacity, in the pressurised and overloaded ICUs.”

READ | Discovery is paying R340,737 per patient on ventilation for Covid-19 in schemes it runs

Discovery Health administers 18 medical schemes, representing almost 7% of the SA population.

Noach says that the company is doing “regular check-ins” with private hospitals to monitor their capacity, and particularly the availability of ICU beds for urgent cases.

But, he adds, at the moment there is currently sufficient ICU bed capacity across the country for the current Covid-19 outbreak and bed demand.

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