Medical Rescue Botswana Limited (MRIB) last week introduced a new business model aimed at bending the cost curve of health care services. This will ensure that the price of health care service is arrived at by taking into account the buildup of its actual cost. While many people relate to MRIB through its emergency medical service, it now defines itself as a prime health entity that houses a range of 24 hour health services such as pharmaceutical, general practitioner consultations and travel medicine. MRIB has extended hours of medical practice so as to make health care available beyond normal working hours.
The new model was unveiled together with MRIB’s new office building. The building’s design is testament to the new direction that the company is treading. In an interview with Sunday Standard, MRIB Managing Director Constance Matabiswana said the new business model is based on integrated health care, which entails bringing together related specialists to service a client within a networked environment. Matabiswana said the model is intended to meet particular needs of the client at the least cost, adding that services will differ according to specific needs of various locations.
“You can’t be too far behind the pace of your client, your client is not looking for compacted health care service, your client is looking for networked services,” she said.
It is a bare reality that economic status determines the quality of health care that is received, which as a result places the low income bracket communities at a disadvantaged position. According to the Non Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA), as at December 2010, the amount of covered lives under medical aid funds sat at only 17 percent of the population. Given that health care cover enables better access to a wide range of health interventions, it can be concluded that the majority of people in Botswana receive basic health care. However the exclusion of cover should not restrict people to access top grade health services. The health care system should therefore design suitable payment arrangements which are reflective of actual costs incurred so as to increase access to health services regardless of economic wellbeing.
This attempt will put to rest the perceived surge of health care costs.
Answering the question on whether it is in the best interest of MRIB to have more people contributing towards health care cover, Matabiswana stated that “if everybody was insured, that is guaranteed money. So obviously your biggest revenue will be guaranteed. Similarly if you reduce your costs more people will access your services.”
She added the guaranteed revenue makes business sense and lowers risk. Matabiswana added that it is also in the interest of MRIB to adopt a payment structure that relates to the actual cost of care so as to charge a fee that a client is willing and able to pay. “You cannot say to yourself I will charge what I want to charge, it doesn’t work that way and you have to ask yourself if they will be able to afford consultation” she said.