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Eight in team to review dialysis cost

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021 00:00 |
Nurses attend to patients undergoing dialysis treatment offered at Kerugoya County Hospital. Photo/KNA

An eight-member technical working group has been established to come up with an agreeable costing for dialysis.

The team comprising four representatives each from the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) and Kenya Renal Association (KRA) agreed to conclude the exercise in two weeks,  during which the members will review the controversial proposal contained in the NHIF Amendment Bill 2021.

During a meeting at NHIF headquarters, a consensus was reached to suspend the proposal – to slash payouts for renal dialysis as part of a cost-cutting drive – until the end of December when it is hoped a resolution would have been reached.

Positive move

A dispatch from the NHIF yesterday indicated that there is a positive move to have the issue resolved as soon as possible.

“It was agreed that this is the onset of many meetings to come to deliberate on the issues raised,” an official from the Fund who did not wish to be named for reasons of protocol said.

The State-backed insurer has proposed to chop the average payout for a renal dialysis session to Sh6,000 from the current Sh9,500 as it seeks to reduce bills for the weekly procedure by Sh1 billion annually to Sh2.7 billion.

In the proposed scheme, a renal patient will be forced to cater for the Sh3,000 difference.

A doctor who attended the meeting said the agreement by the NHIF to suspend the proposal is an opportunity for the two sides to come up with an objective costing for life threatening conditions.

“It also gives us a chance to conduct proper research on the proposal especially around costing in order to establish how the NHIF arrived at the figures,” the doctor told People Daily.  

In the new scheme, NHIF will categorise units into comprehensive and non-comprehensive.

In the comprehensive category, patients will not be expected to pay additional fees to top up for their haemodialysis sessions.

In the non-comprehensive category though, patients will top up for their sessions.

The medic who spoke to the People Daily in confidence, however, noted that generally, from the experience of nephrologists, the proposed costing is not practical.

He argued that in the long run if the NHIF goes ahead to implement the proposed fees, then it will be easy for health facilities stopping from offering dialysis services in favour of kidney transplant.

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