NHIF on the spot over ruined hospitals

NHIF Building in Nairobi. [File, Standard]
The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) has once again come under fire, with the National Assembly blaming it for dilapidated state of public hospitals.

At the same time, Ministry of Health officials criticised the social State insurer for failing to reimburse public hospitals on time to allow for smooth operations.

National Assembly Health Committee members and ministry officials, including Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman, said Mathari Referral and Teaching Hospital and National Spinal Injury Hospital were in sorry states because of delayed reimbursement by NHIF.

For example, it was revealed yesterday that NHIF owed Mathari Hospital Sh105 million in reimbursements. Similarly, NHIF owed the National Spinal Injury Hospital Sh6 million.

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“NHIF is part of the Government, within the ministry, so it cannot be hard to pay Sh105 million. How many billions does it have in its reserve? We are aware they have plans to invest the cash. We cannot accept NHIF to sit on billions and watch Mathari Hospital collapse,” said Muhamud Sheikh (Wajir South).

Dr Aman acknowledged that Mathari Hospital did not have a committee to push for higher budgetary allocations from the ministry and rally to have pending bills by NHIF paid.

“Personally, I wonder why NHIF finds it easier to promptly pay private facilities yet takes ages to pay public hospitals. When you go to Kenyatta National Hospital it is the same case, but walk into any back-door private clinic on some seventh floor of a building, they get paid promptly,” said Patrick Munene (Chuka Igamba Ng'ombe).

According to a report prepared by Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki on the status of the two facilities tabled before the committee by the CAS, the National Spinal Injury Hospital, despite being a national referral facility, is still being funded as a unit of the Ministry of Health since it has no committee.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Standardmedia.co.ke

NHIFNational Assembly Health CommitteeNational Spinal Injury HospitalChuka Igamba Ng'ombe