NHIF pushes for reforms amid board, CEO fallout

The National Hospital Insurance fund building in Nairobi in this photo taken on March 27, 2022. PHOTO | LUCY WANJIRU | NMG

The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) board is pushing for a restructuring amid a fallout between the board and top management.

NHIF board chair Lewis Nguyai yesterday told Parliament that part of the staff in the scheme’s top management including directors are not qualified for the positions they are currently holding.

The push comes at a time the board has fallen out with the NHIF’s top brass including CEO Peter Kamunyo, highlighting behind-the-scenes fights at the cash-rich scheme.

Mr Nguyai told the National Assembly committee for health that the board will meet on November 30 to endorse the new organisational structure that has already received approval from the State Corporations Advisory Committee (SCAC).

“There are staff currently holding positions they are not qualified for. The restructuring will see those who are not suitable exit,” Mr Nguyai said.

“We will need to deal with some of them and we will need your protection as a committee to ensure that when we make a decision, we will not face a political barrage.”

The board had in September threatened to oust Mr Kamunyo accusing him of insubordination following the revocation of contracts for 17 healthcare providers under the scheme.

Mr Kamunyo cancelled contracts of the healthcare providers in September following an audit that unearthed massive irregularities under the Comprehensive Secondary School Student Medical Scheme, popular as EduAfya.

The restructuring plan comes at a time 65 per cent of the NHIF top management posts are being held in an acting capacity. The board said the restructuring will also lead to the promotion of staff who have stagnated or acted in one post for a very long period of time.

NHIF has 1,835 employees against an approved staff complement of 2,200 and is seeking to hire 400 new employees to plug the staff shortfall.

Restructuring of the top management will result in some offices being scrapped, and employees redeployed or declared redundant.

NHIF will roll out Universal Health Care (UHC) as part of the government’s plan to provide affordable and quality healthcare to all Kenyans.

NHIF has for years been grappling with revenue leakages that are estimated to cost the fund between 10 to 20 per cent of its total annual revenues. The scheme is currently on a recovery path after years of losses that had pushed it to a negative cash surplus of Sh3.65 billion in the year ended June 2019.

Unaudited results for the year that ended this June show that NHIF had Sh800.97 million in surplus, representing a 78 per cent jump from Sh449.9 million held a year earlier.

The health fund’s premiums grew 29.4 per cent to Sh80.43 billion, while medical payouts jumped 31.9 per cent to Sh71.34 billion. Other costs increased by 10.3 per cent to Sh7.78 billion.

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Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.