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Patients to continue with NHIF services without limits, says CS Cleopa Mailu

By Timothy Makokha | Published Sat, November 4th 2017 at 11:02, Updated November 4th 2017 at 13:07 GMT +3
Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu,during a press conference at Afya House on Thursday 5th October 2017. [PHOTO/Edward Kiplimo,Standard]

Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu has suspended NHIF decision to limit outpatient visits to four in a year awaiting consultation with other stakeholders.

In a press statement Saturday morning, Mailu said patients should continue enjoying NHIF services without limits.

“The Cabinet Secretary for Health Dr Cleopa Mailu has suspended with immediate effect the decision by NHIF to limit the outpatient visits to only four per year until further notice. This is until further consultations are held between NHIF board and other stakeholders. Meanwhile patients should continue the services as it has been the case before.”

Majority of Kenyans on social media had termed the NHIF decision as unfair, arguing that it’s not practical for a patient to be allowed only four outpatient visits per year.

NHIF Chief Executive Geoffrey Mwangi had initially said the change will ensure contributors access primary healthcare at any accredited hospital countrywide.

“Initially, if members had chosen a facility that does not operate 24 hours, they could not access services. The effected changes will see members access the services at any time of the day from any NHIF-accredited facility,” he said at a press briefing in Nairobi on Friday.

The NHIF boss emphasised that one card will only serve up to four hospital visits in 12 months, meaning that its more than 6.5 million members may be forced to foot a large part of the bills from their pockets.

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“We are also dealing with fraud. It is more beneficial to put it at four visits per card each year so that we can curb healthcare fraud, wastage and abuse of health financing resources,” said Mr Mwangi.

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