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Hospitals colluding with NHIF to fleece Kenyans by sending patients to India

09 March 2016, 09:31 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi - National Assembly Speaker, Justin Muturi has directed the Health committee to probe a privately-owned group of hospitals allegedly procuring patients in the country for treatment in India.

Muturi asked the committee chaired by Rachael Nyamae (Kitui) to investigate Medanta Afri-Care Group of Hospitals following a petition to Parliament by a former employee of the healthcare provider.

The petitioner, Brian Onyango told the House that the hospital, which has been establishing units across the country, has been engaging in malpractices by colluding with National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) to fleece the scheme by sending patients to India for medical cases that can be locally treated.

“The hospital has been using local doctors to procure patients for treatment in India, paying doctors USD 2000 (approximately KES 200 000) per patient and defrauding NHIF and tax payers. The medical practitioners in the said hospitals collude with NHIF officials to fleece tax payers' contributions to the scheme,” Onyango says in a petition read in Parliament by Muturi.

Onyango claims that Medanta has been using unqualified medical practitioners to treat cases that are supposed to be handled by certified medical practitioners.

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“Certain medical procedures like endoscopy can only be done by qualified and certified medical practitioners, however, the hospitals continue to use non qualified practitioners posing a risk to patients,” says Onyango.

MPs who contributed to the petition called for thorough investigation into the matter, saying questions had been raised over many cases of patients heading for treatment in India under the instructions of their doctors.

“This is a serious issue because medicine is not just another profession. Any act of professional misconduct by practitioners must worry us. We fear that many doctors are referring patients to particular doctors in India for their own gain,” said John Mbadi (Suba), who is also the ODM Chairman.

James Nyikal (Seme MP), a former Health PS and Director of Medical Services, said some medical practitioners have made their patients believe that it was cheaper to seek attention in India, even on diseases and conditions that can be treated locally.

“The committee must also look at the pricing of medical services in Kenya. It cannot be that it is cheaper to treat these diseases in India where a patient has to go accompanied by a relative and have to seek accommodation,” said Nyikal.

The two MPs called for an oversight on all institutions offering medical courses, raising concern that some of them do not have the right capacity for such undertaking, a move that has compromised the quality of services being offered.

“I am particularly worried at the mushrooming universities offering medical training. They must be checked to contain the many cases of unprofessionalism that has hit this industry,” said Mbadi.

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