Health Cabinet Secretary, Susan Nakhumicha on Thursday, June 8, revealed that the government intended to disburse funds to the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) to avert a crisis resulting in patients being denied services.
In an interview on Radio Citizen, Nakhumicha explained that the resolution was reached after meeting President William Ruto alongside Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung'u.
According to the Health CS, the funds would be disbursed to NHIF by the third week of June 2023.
"Because of the financial constraints, NHIF is yet to get its funds. I want to assure Kenyans that we sat down with the President this week and informed him about the necessity of the health sector in the country. I told him that he should prioritise the matter and look for funds to pay NHIF. He agreed," she stated.
"Treasury CS, who was present in the meeting, agreed that funds would be disbursed to NHIF this coming week," she added.
CS Nakhumicha pointed out that the government was keen on providing a permanent solution to curb hospitals denying NHIF patients services over the cash crunch.
She claimed that the permanent solution would be the adoption of the Finance Bill 2023.
"Let's speak the truth. Things were not going well at NHIF. Now, we need to fix it. You have heard that hospitals are yet to be paid hence affecting Kenyans using the service."
"Further, patients with an NHIF card are not getting services. Why is this? The country is broke and that is a fact. That's why Ruto has brought proposals in the Finance Bill that will enable funds to be collected for us to run the government," she added.
Hospitals had declared that NHIF patients would not be served until they received a significant amount from the fund.
In its defence, NHIF Nairobi regional manager Mary Nyachae stated that the hospitals denied patients medical services in response to the new claims verification measures.
She alleged that the hospitals disputed the new rules whereby NHIF should verify claims before remitting the funds. This differed from the initial process, where payment claims were directly paid to hospitals within two weeks.