Discovery medical scheme offers COVID-19 ‘isolation hotels’ for members

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Discovery Health Medical Scheme (DHMS) has partnered with a number of hotels to offer members infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) accommodation to recover in isolation.

In an update on its website earlier this week, Discovery said this would reduce the risk of positive members infecting their families and close contacts.

It said, “This alternative to home-based isolation is available to members at a significantly reduced rate, and offers tailored medical support including access to nursing care, supportive over-the-counter medication and online doctor consultations, where required.”

‘Relieving pressure on health system’

Members can access this benefit while waiting for their test results (two days) or after a confirmed diagnosis (14 days, subject to healthcare advice – in case hospitalisation is not required), the scheme said.

Discovery Health CEO Dr Ryan Noach said, “Medical Scheme members with COVID-19 have extended medical cover in this time and we also opened online doctor consultations to more South Africans.

“We believe the creation of these spaces for isolation is a positive step in providing South Africans with access to appropriate care and will be important in reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.

“By supporting this initiative, we also hope to relieve some of the pressure on our healthcare system and to assist people to access the right environment and supportive medical care for isolation.”

24-hour nursing care

Discovery said it will provide 24-hour nursing care at the hotels and registered nurses will provide telephonic consultation and supportive over-the-counter medicine when needed.

The medical scheme will also “fund online doctor consultations and medicine from day-to-day benefits where available and the DHMS WHO Global Outbreak Benefit as specified on the benefit letter.”

Interested members, both at the testing or isolation stages, can learn how to access the reduced rate on Discovery’s website here.

Meanwhile, the SA Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) has encouraged medical schemes to consider giving their members a three-month payment holiday in light of the pandemic’s economic impact.

In a press release on Thursday, CMS Chief Executive and Registrar Dr Sipho Kabane urged schemes to assist members who have lost income as a result of the pandemic and lockdown.

“Schemes should investigate all disruptions to member contributions on a case-by-case basis and determine the merits thereof, before suspension or termination of membership,” he said.

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