The Hospital Association of SA (Hasa) has punched holes in a report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) finding that private hospitals are getting more expensive.
Hasa said the study, which was presented as fact, was flawed, as it did not address criticisms raised by independent actuaries, funders and hospitals alike. The OECD-WHO study and its conclusions were recently presented at the Board of Healthcare Funders conference in Cape Town.
“The OECD study essentially measures affordability of private hospitals in a society that suffers among the highest Gini coefficiencies (inequalities) in the world and in which the vast majority of households regrettably receive very low incomes. In such a society, most goods and services can be considered expensive,” Hasa said.
In addition, the study compared South African private hospital prices with a basket of OECD countries’ public health systems, but failed to take into account that public sector prices in some of these countries were insufficient to cover costs and were, therefore, running at a deficit.
The study also failed to cover the socioeconomic status of the private hospital sector and the existence of a large public sector providing subsidised health services. Nor had the influence of the exchange rate on hospital input costs been adequately provided for and this, by the OECD-WHO study group’s own admission, was a severe limitation in the study.