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Prisons among debtors as KNH unpaid bills hit Sh7bn

Kenyatta National Hospital
Kenyatta National Hospital. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) is owed Sh7 billion by patients who were discharged without payment.

Evanson Kamuri, the acting KNH chief executive, told Parliament that East Africa’s biggest referral hospital is also owed a further Sh1.3 billion by the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF). The KNH management wants Parliament to intervene and have a fund created through the national Treasury budget to cater for the cost of treating poor patients who are discharged without settling their bills.

“This figure has been increasing to the tune of Sh7 billion currently. The Sh7 billion is amount owed to the hospital by indigents or people who are unable to pay medical bills on discharge,” Dr Kamuri told the National Assembly’s Public Investment Committee (PIC) chaired by Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir.

Dr Kamuri told PIC that the amount of money owed to the hospital is increasing every day due to inability by indigents, institutions such as Kenya Police and Kenya Prisons to clear the hospital bills. He said KNH has been unable to collect debts from institutions such as Kenya Police and Prisons which treat suspects or prisoners under their custody at the hospital.

“Some patients are indigents who are unable to settle their pending bills. Efforts to collect money from this category have been unsuccessful. There are also bills relating to unclaimed bodies that the hospital disposes as per Health Act,” Dr Kamuri said.

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He said KNH does not receive reimbursements for indigents unlike other lower hospitals.

“We are in catch 22 because these are poor Kenyans that we have to treat once referred to KNH. We have tried to seek guidance that a fund be created from the Treasury to cater for this.”

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