Joining forces for a healthy future

Pictured signing on the dotted line is Neil Nair, left, with Kevin Aron.

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union National Medical Scheme (SAMWUMED), a medical scheme for local government and associated service employees, has partnered with Medscheme, one of the leading medical aid health administrations in South Africa for more than 40 years.

The signing took place on Wednesday November 30, at the Samwumed offices in Athlone.

Neil Nair, principal officer of Samwumed, said the scheme engaged with Medscheme as its hospital manager in 2015.

This year Samwumed’s board has agreed to extend its partnership with Medscheme to include medicine management and HIV/Aids disease management programmes.

Mr Nair said the partnership between the two companies will enable more affordable healthcare and a more proactive healthcare experience by the patient, as well as improved preventative care initiatives.

“We felt that it was important to partner with a company that had the pedigree and expertise of an organisation like Medscheme. Aids affects the working class more than any other community so we have to make sure that the members inflicted by the disease gets the best treatment,” said Mr Nair.

He said that one of the things that he would like to do differently going forward, is to look at integrated care.

“I want to look at a situation where the patient is looked at more holistically as well as preventative measures instead of just reacting. I am hoping that this partnership would go a long way in developing a more holistic approach to how we see our patients,” he said.

Kevin Aron, chief executive officer of Medscheme, said at the moment medical aids are becoming largely unaffordable. He said Medscheme’s objective is to ensure the sustainability of the medical schemes and manage the cost and quality of the care.

“We’ve proposed a partnership where we would be able to bring a lot of expertise and assist them with the management of health care cost and quality of the cost,” said Mr Aron.

Mr Aron said while the problem might not be solved overnight, he definitely looks forward to the partnership with Samwumed and skills exchange.

“Ultimately we are looking for a situation where we create value and value is when you are able to reduce the cost of healthcare and be able to say that people can actually afford a medical aid,” he said.