The National Assembly Departmental Committee on Health is set to launch a public inquiry into fraudulent activities at the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).
Wide spread allegations of collusion between NHIF officials and private hospitals in the fraud schemes have prompted the investigation.
Speaking on Tuesday after an interactive meeting with the NHIF top management, Endebess MP Robert Pukose who is the chair of the committee expressed concern over claims that the Fund officials are involved in siphoning money through fictitious claims.
Pukose said the only way to salvage NHIF is to launch a comprehensive investigation that may result in significant personnel changes.
"We, as a committee, cannot turn a blind eye to the misappropriation of public resources within NHIF. The only path to uncover the truth behind the NHIF crisis is through a public inquiry," he said.
He said the committee will next week convene to establish the terms of reference for the inquiry and invite relevant stakeholders to present their knowledge of the situation at NHIF.
The 15-member committee will also probe the preferential treatment given to private health facilities at the expense of public hospitals.
“It is inconceivable that a private hospital could perform more surgeries than renowned institutions such as Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH), let alone both combined. Clearly, these claims are baseless,” said Moyale MP Guyo Waqo Jaldesa.
Mogotio MP Reuben Kiborek regretted that fraudulent activities at the NHIF have persisted throughout history and have been shielded by a covert arrangement wherein NHIF branch managers shield the bosses at the headquarters.
“If we aim to establish Universal Health Insurance (UHC), we must address the deep-rooted corruption at NHIF, even if it entails removing the entire NHIF board of management and directors," said Kiborek.
Nyeri Town MP Dancun Mathenge said a public inquiry is the only way to expose the corruption at NHIF.
Mathenge noted that certain private hospitals had submitted exorbitant claims for surgeries, surpassing the number performed by KNH and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.
“It is disheartening that 60 per cent of NHIF payments go to private health facilities, especially considering that the privileged hospitals are those with close connections to NHIF's top brass. Meanwhile, legitimate service providers struggle to operate due to unpaid dues," he said.
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Kitutu Chache South MP Anthony Kibagendi said that the issues at NHIF must be conclusively resolved to ensure long-term stability.