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Private healthcare providers up in arms, accuse insurers of discrimination

 MEPHPA member, Dr Robert Njagi (centre). [Muriithhi Mugo, Standard]

Private healthcare providers in Embu County have decried discrimination by insurance providers tasked to offer services at the sub-counties.

Dr Robert Njagi, a member of Mbeere-Embu Private Health Providers Association (MEPHPA), said since the devolved unit withdrew its members of staff from the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), members have been facing challenges to access medical services.

"Getting enlisted by the contracted insurers has been a challenge as many are biased in registered health facilities where their members are supposed to seek services," Dr Njagi said.

Njagi added that some sub-counties don't have registered health facilities which forces members to queue at public facilities far away from their operating areas.

He also noted that since all county workers, teachers, and disciplinary forces were transferred to other health insurance providers other than the NHIF, many were not getting treatment at private hospitals thus not getting services as they would wish.

"All members of the contracted insurance companies seek treatment services at public hospitals causes a lot of congestion in those facilities," Njagi said.

At the same time, the association called upon the county government to enroll vulnerable members of the society to NHIF scheme hence have members benefit from the insurance since many end up requesting for waivers that are a huge burden to the health facilities.

Embu Health CEC Benson Ndwiga who attended the meeting at Izaak Walton in hotel said they waive approximately Sh50 million per year against Sh18 million that is collected from health facilities in Embu.

He noted the theft of drugs was greatly affecting county health facilities adding that the county will be forced to look for ways to get revenue that will fill the gap.

"We are ready and will work in collaboration with the private sector and kindly help the devolved unit to block avenues used to steal medicines in the public health facilities," Mr Ndwiga said.

He warned them theft of medicine at the public facilities would see an increment in levies as the county seeks to cover the gap.

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