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Patient-centric Approach In Medical Scheme Industry In Focus At Upcoming 22nd BHF Conference

  • 4 min read

The heart and very aim of any healthcare industry is the patient – which is why the Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF), is pleased to announce that this year’s annual Conference theme will focus on person-centredness in the health industry ecosystem and its cohesion.

The 22nd annual BHF Conference will be held on 14-17 May at The Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) in Cape Town.

The conference is among the largest convenings of its kind in the healthcare in Southern Africa, bringing together over 1 000 key industry stakeholders including:  The National Health Ministries, Medical Scheme Principal Officers, Trustees, Fund Managers, medical professionals, and various important stakeholders in the medical aid sector. BHF is the biggest representative body of the private healthcare funding industry, representing medical schemes, administrators, managed care organisations and other healthcare funders in sub-Saharan Africa.

The person-centric health ecosystem that leaves no one behind, the theme of this year’s conference comes at a critical time in the health industry’s transition into a post-Covid-19 reality.

“It is an opportune, if not overdue time, for the industry to self-reflect on whether it has been doing enough to address the critical aspects and gaps that exist in placing the person at the heart of the health ecosystem. It also presents an opportunity for sector role-players to robustly engage in solution identification and sector collaboration,” says Dr Katlego Mothudi, managing director of the BHF.

The healthcare industry across Southern Africa has been in a decades-long need for reform, as the increasing costs to healthcare that limit access to medical aid coverage continues unabated.

Today it is estimated that there are approximately 7.5million actively employed citizens who do not belong to a private medical scheme simply because they cannot afford the contributions for medical schemes.

BHF believes that there is an opportunity to bring these health citizens into the fold of private healthcare sector by introducing necessary reforms that allow them to opt for benefits that suit their lifestyles and financial standing. And beyond that, provide benefits that are meaningful, accessible and member-centric and processes that are easy to understand and navigate for members.

A patient is first and foremost a person with an identity, a past, as well as a personal and cultural background. The conference will spotlight a health ecosystem that has people and communities at its centre, empowers the patient’s voice, promotes equity, and embraces co-production of proactive care.

The conference also comes at a time when the healthcare system needs to find collaborative opportunities across the Southern African region and share insights on how “preventative healthcare is the new currency in healthcare” – and that too includes the tenets of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Leading experts will share strategies on how health systems can strengthen governance and accountability, align policies to create an enabling environment, and provide an opportunity for key role players in the space to demystify how their work integrates in the patient-care continuum.

“Of particular interest – among a host of compelling speakers and robust discussions – will be the Governance Workshop to be held on May 14. This workshop will strengthen trustees’ and executives’ understanding of the business of a medical scheme, along with the roles and responsibilities of trustees, and fundamental principles of good corporate governance,” adds Mothudi.

The workshop will also present a holistic view of global trends in healthcare, whilst also incorporating pivotal discussions around universal health coverage in the medical scheme environment. It will also delve into the role and responsibilities of trustees in setting strategic direction for person-centricity; whilst also unpacking the Medical Schemes Act and clarifying the role of the trustee vs the regulator in protecting the interests of the beneficiary.

The workshop will help strengthen trustees’ understanding of the business of a medical scheme, along with the roles and responsibilities of trustees, and fundamental principles of good corporate governance.

In essence, all these discussions along with those on the conference programme are about protecting members’ interests and promoting more resolute patient-centricity across the industry.