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NHIF Standoff Hurts Services At  Murang’a hospital

Students who have been visiting a Murang’a hospital have missed treatment after a standoff between the facility and NHIF emerged.

Virgin Health Care Hospital located in Maragua town stopped giving students free treatment in November 2018 after NHIF suspended processing of claims from the facility.

Director of the hospital, Mr. Kenneth Maguta on Tuesday told members of press that the NHIF suspended them from offering treatment to students.

Maguta said his hospital was accredited to offer NHIF services, including Edu-Afya programme which caters for students’ treatment.

He alleged that NHIF has not paid him for services the hospital has given to students from various schools.

Virgin Hospital, Maguta noted was one of the private facilities which were selected by neighbouring schools to offer treatment to their students.

“We commenced treating students in July last year under the Edu-Afya programme but in November, we received a letter from NHIF suspending our services until an audit and thorough investigations are done on number of patients we had treated,” noted the director.

Since then, he added they stopped offering treatment and also started levying for services rendered to students who visit his hospital.

“Once a student comes for treatment we are forced to contact the parent, so as to foot the bill, an issue which has raised uproar among parents and schools’ administrations,” Maguta further said.

He divulged NHIF owes him close to Sh. 3.9 million, an amount which has affected operations in the facility.

“As a private clinic, we don’t get medical supplies on credit basis like the case in public hospitals, so when we fail to get our payments, operations in the hospital are affected,” said Maguta.

Maguta underscored the move by the government to introduce Edu-Afya programme saying the initiative was a relief to parents but castigated how the programme is being implemented.

“NHIF accused my hospital of treating many students and I gave them a go ahead to do investigations and unearth the truth but they are taking long to conclude the investigations,” he added.

Deputy Principal of Ichagaki Boys School, Mr. Mwangi Gachaga when contacted said Virgin Hospital was one of the facilities which were offering treatment to their students.

Others include, Maragua Rural Hospital and Murang’a level-5 hospital which are under management of the county government.

Gachaga noted Virgin hospital initially used to visit the school on Mondays and Fridays to offer treatment, something which saved students transport expenses and learning time.

“NHIF and the hospital can solve the stalemate urgently for services to resume. Our students currently are forced to travel for long distance to get treatment or in times of emergency, we are forced to foot the bills,” added the Deputy Principal.

In a rejoinder, NHIF Murang’a Branch Manager, Mr. David Kimanzi opposed claims on stopping the hospital from treating students.

Kimanzi after he was contacted by KNA said that NHIF only suspended processing of claims by the hospital until investigations are done on the number of students treated.

“We are allowed by the law to do investigations and we are still on timeline and soon we will be through and give our verdict. The hospital was not suspended from treating students but only from processing payment claims,” added Kimanzi.

The list of treated students presented by the hospital, Kimanzi said was long, thus prompting need to investigate whether it was genuine.

By Bernard Munyao

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