It is pleasing to see that COVID-19 restrictions have started to ease because of the low rates of COVID-19 transmission, allowing a return to a “new normal”
While the National Cabinet outlined a pathway for the lifting of restrictions in hospitals and reintroducing surgical health care on May 15, the roll-out of this reintroduction is a matter for each state and the hospital operators within each state, with the Australian Government forecasting surgical activity returning to 100 per cent capacity by July 2020.
We would recommend that if you had an elective procedure delayed due to COVID-19, that you get in touch with your surgeon and seek clarification as to when your procedure will be next booked.
Hospital visitation restrictions (one visitor per person) will continue to be monitored during this period.
Screening, temperature checks and social distancing measures will stay in place for those visiting or working in waiting rooms and on hospital wards in a bid to protect everyone from further outbreaks.
THE TASMANIAN SCENE
Feedback from hospital providers in the state confirm the following:
- In the North-West region, Healthe Care Australia has taken back control of the North West Private Hospital, with elective surgery restarting on Thursday, May 14 for Category 1 and Urgent Category 2 cases, with caseloads progressing to 100 per cent by July 2020.
- In the North, Calvary Healthcare has recommenced elective surgery this week, after taking public caseloads from the Launceston General Hospital following an outbreak of COVID-19 on the North-West Coast, and anticipates to be at 100 per cent capacity by July 2020.
- In the South, Hobart Private is targeting to be at 100 per cent by early June 2020, with Calvary aiming to reach 100 per cent caseloads by July 2020.
As a result, we would expect claims to return from their low point of 40 per cent to normal in April to be at and above normal levels by July 2020, after which time we would expect provider to start catching up on any backlog of services.
RETURN OF EXTRAS SERVICES
With the restrictions of general treatment services over mid-March through to mid-May, claims dropped to about 30 per cent of expected capacity in April.
We are pleased to see that our members are now taking advantage of their extras cover, with claims now recovering to about 80 to 85 per cent of normal forecasting.
The good news is that most respondents have plans on returning to their dentist within the next three months and are comfortable with the level of safety measures dentists have in place to continue providing treatment.
We recently sent a survey to a small cohort of members asking about their dental experience during COVID-19.
The results suggested that the majority of respondents have plans on returning to their dentist within the next three months and are comfortable with the level of infection control measures dentists have in place to continue providing treatment.
We would expect services will return to normal levels during June with providers catching up on any backlog of services from July.
Thank you again for your understanding during this challenging time and for allowing us to partner with you on your health journey.