BY KORIR JUMA,NAIROBI,4TH NOV 2017-A move by the Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu to suspend the new rules issued by the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) regarding outpatient services has attracted criticismfrom Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union (KMPDU) .
Secretary General Ouma Oluga termed Dr Cleopa Mailu’s decision “as bad as the NHIIF’s four visit rule”.
Through a comment made on his Twitter handle on Saturday ,Dr Oluga further accused CS Mailu of making the decision unilaterally.
“That the CS can unilaterally make a decision on NHIF is as an accountability problem as the four visits per year directive.”
Dr Cleopa Mailu on Saturday blocked the rules from being effected, attributing his decision to “public outcry”.
The move could jeopardize efforts by very poor families to access medical services unless they pay independently from their own pockets for any extra visits to hospitals .
However, civil servants and private sector employees in schemes where their employers adds to their monthly contributions were spared the brunt of the cutbacks, with unlimited outpatient access of at least Sh100,000.
Dr Oluga accused the government of not involving other health stakeholders in making of decisions.
“The reason why there is a widespread lack of acceptance of the NHIF decision is [because there is] lack of stakeholders’ consultations.
“….It is time the insurer engaged both the consumer and the health care provider as they are the ones who know if they can provide required services as per the stated fees,” he said.
In a move that has brought the apparent disconnect between the state insurer and the executive into sharp focus, Dr Mailu dismissed the directive pending consultation.
“The Cabinet Secretary for Health Cleopa Mailu has suspended with immediate effect the decision by NHIF to limit the outpatient visits to only four per year until further notice.
“This is until further consultations are held between NHIF board and other stakeholders.
The cs said until the matters is settle amicably between concerned parties patients will continue with the services as it has been the case before.