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Private hospitals biggest NHIF beneficiaries, says Nakhumicha

Health & Science
 Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Susan Nakhumicha before Parliament's Health Committee. [Mercy Kahenda, Standard]

Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha says private hospitals in Kenya are the biggest beneficiaries of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF).

The CS made the remarks while appearing before the National Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday, June 20.

According to Nakhumicha, about 60 per cent of NHIF payments go to private facilities. She adds that according to the records, small private facilities conduct more surgeries than public hospitals combined.

"How is it that over 60 per cent of payments from NHIF goes to private facilities? It is shocking that of the payments we met last month after having delays from Exchequer for a long time, we realized that the facility to be paid the most is one that we have suspended," the CS says.

"In all honesty, I am yet to be convinced that you will have small private facilities doing more surgeries than Kenyatta, Moi, or KU hospitals," she added.

The CS has also defended her move to suspend some NHIF officials and close down some health facilities.

"I hear that there are concerns regarding my decision and the impact on the public. Before I took the decision, I had an early morning meeting with the chair of NHIF and the CEO of KMPDC and we discussed the ways out of this matter, we did not just suspend the facilities chair," she explained.

"I gave them 24 hours to evacuate patients because I knew there will be an impact. So, within that period, they ought to have transferred patients to other hospitals. And one of that facilities dared to write back to the attendant."

The Health CS had also announced that NHIF staff will have to undergo a lifestyle audit to explain their wealth about their earnings, following the recent NHIF scandal.

"We are going to commence an elaborate lifestyle audit of all NHIF staff, to ensure every staff can explain their wealth portfolio in consistency with their earnings," the CS ordered.

This was after an expose aired at the weekend alleged that hospitals have been stealing from Kenyans by inflating bills that are footed by NHIF.

"I wish to express my deepest disappointment and contestation at the staff in my Ministry who may be part of this callous syndicate."

Moreover, the CS ordered the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council (KMPDC) and the Pharmacy and Poisons Board to immediately commence investigations on certain facilities.

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