Healthcare start-up firm Alignd is taking aim at medical schemes’ limited provisions for palliative care for cancer patients, and is offering the industry a new managed care model it says will save money and give patients a greater say in their end of life care. Palliative care has traditionally been viewed as care that is provided in the final weeks of a person’s life, but it can in fact be provided far earlier during the course of a terminal illness. It aims to provide holistic care to patients that considers physical, emotional and spiritual needs, and can be provided at home or in a facility. However, the Medical Schemes Act’s prescribed minimum benefits (PMBs) create a perverse incentive for end of life care to be provided in a costly hospital setting, as schemes are only obliged to provide 14 days of palliative care for terminal illness, said Alignd co-founder Linda Holding. PMBs are the minimum basket of care that all schemes must provide to their members, regardless of the ...

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