In response to March’s Big Question, ‘Are open-referral private medical insurance schemes working?’, staff looking to get treatment for conditions that existed prior to open referral are far from OK with the idea.
Others are cynical, but accepting.
Much of the challenge for us has been in communicating the reasons for its introduction. We invested a lot of time and energy in member communications, even offering personal meetings with a senior clinical director from our insurer for those who felt particularly aggrieved. Member perceptions have improved as a result, but a hard core of cynics remain.
I am rather divided on the matter. On the one hand, we are experiencing first-hand the cost benefits. On the other hand, however, I do sometimes struggle with the argument that open referral will lead to higher-quality care. I want to believe this, but it is too early to tell.
Jane Fenwick is associate director, total rewards at Shire Pharmaceuticals