Nairobi — The National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) has issued a one-month extension to current contract with hospital care providers which was set to end on December 31 ending after medics union had vowed not to sign the new working contract citing lack of public participation.
The consortium of health professional association bodies led by Kenya Medical Association (KMA), Kenya Medical Pharmaceutical and Dentist Union (KMPDU) , Kenya Association of Private Hospital (KAPH) and Rural Private Hospital Association of Kenya (RUPHA) had vowed not to sign the 2022-2024 NHIF contracts, a possible threat to the delivery of health services.
“In light of this and based on numerous request from health care providers to be accorded more time to review the new contracts, the Fund has resolved to extend your contract for a period of one month effective 1ST January 2022 to 31st January 2022,” Peter Kamunyo, CEO NHIF said in a statement.
The health professional bodies had faulted the engagement done in the process of developing the contracts saying the benefit packages are aimed at lowering the quality of health services in the country.
“There was no stakeholders involvement process in the development of the benefit packages as envisaged in the constitution. We thus propose that the proposed NHIF service provider contract be put on hold until proper stakeholder is held on mutually agreed contract,” said Were Onyino, President KMA.
Among the concerns raised include the reduction of benefit package for surgical surgeries, dialysis services and reproductive health services while some health services had been omitted in the new contract package.
If it would not have been implemented, Kenyans under the insurance scheme would have to foot for bills in certain health services.
“There remains no clarity on what is offered and not offered in the NHIF. Even a mother coming to the hospital to receive a lifesaving breast surgery might not receive the services because it has been left out in the national scheme,” stated Onyino.
KMPDU Secretary General Davji Atellah lamented that NHIF conduct on health services to common mwananchi will be the death bed for Universal Health Coverage by the Jubilee Government.
“If this contract is not suspended in two days then it means Kenyans will not access health services. The contract has been rejected by both public and private sector health facilities. We will procced to get injunction against implementation of this contracts should NHIF fail to halt it ,” said Atellah .
NHIF is accused of having unilaterally issued contracts to some health facilities for summary execution, in certain instances within a 24-hour period.
“The current NHIF proposal doesn’t even take into account for dialogue chance so that all stakeholders are brought on board and these rates are taken on board by all,” decried Lawrence Owino, Chair Kenya Pediatric Association.
The Insurance Fund had proposed to cut down on the reimbursement of Sh 9,500 to patients undergoing hemodialysis to Sh6,000 despite concerns from the stakeholders.
The new contract has also reviewed the cost of dialysis with NHIF saying it will only pay Sh 6,500 per session, for a maximum of 3 sessions in a week with the patient expected to top up the remaining amount.