South Africa: Discovery Dithers About Cover for Telephonic and Virtual Consultations

analysis

Virtual or telephonic consultations may sound like an easier workload, but psychologists say that the opposite is true.

Discovery Health Medical Scheme, South Africa's largest medical aid provider, has gone back-and-forth on its widely criticised decision to pay less for virtual mental health consultations. Medscheme is sticking to its guns and paying reduced rates of 50%.

Maverick Citizen has attempted to get clear answers from providers over the past week on what they pay for and their motivation for not paying in full for virtual consultations. This came after many psychologists and psychiatrists spoke out about the cuts, although they had to remain anonymous for fear of being targeted in future.

Maverick Citizen was informed last night that the Psychological Society of South Africa met again with Discovery Health yesterday afternoon and "we are relieved to feed back that DHMS [Discovery] heard our concerns and have been able to recognise the arguments put forward which outline the ways in which the practice of teletherapy differs substantially from online consultation in other disciplines".

It was confirmed that Discovery had verbally agreed to reimburse online therapy at 100% of the usual rate.

"This will, however, be subject to the establishment of quality...

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