Kenya: NHIF Extends Contract With Hospitals Amid Tussle With Healthcare Unions

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.