Private hospitals accused of cashing in on pandemic
Private hospitals have been accused of using the Covid-19 pandemic to make a quick kill by charging inflated bills.
Former National Authority for Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) chairman John Mututho said private facilities have turned the pandemic into a cash cow targeting vulnerable families who did not know who to turn to.
With a show of documents, Mututho narrated how his kin died in a hospital in Nairobi and left behind a 45-page bill of Sh4.3 million.
“Private hospitals have taken advantage of the pandemic to charge exorbitant fees,” he said.
An emotional Mututho narrated how his relative and the wife tested positive for Covid-19 and were rushed to a private and public hospitals respectively.
“The wife who went into a public hospital recovered days later but the husband who was admitted in a private hospital facility passed on leaving behind a bill of Sh4.32 million,” he said.
Speaking in Naivasha on Thursday, the former MP said tens of similar families were suffering under the high and manipulated hospital bills.
“Those taken to private hospitals are no longer worried of dying from the flu but from the high and unexplained medical bills awaiting them,” he said.
To this end, he said he was working with affected families to petition the National Government, Senate and Parliament to investigate the medical fees.
“Covid-19 is real and has killed many but these private hospitals are taking advantage of the fear and panic to charge these shocking fees,” he said.
While applauding public hospitals, he noted that the majority of those who had recovered from the virus got treatment from county facilities.
“The only challenge we have in county hospitals is lack of protective gear for health workers who are doing a great job,” he said.
A medical planner, Martin Oluoch, also questioned the high bills, wondering which medication the hospitals were using that left families paying millions of shillings in cash.
Oluoch observed that 80 per cent of people who had contracted the virus recovered from home, adding that the pandemic had turned out to be a source of quick cash for hospitals.
“The worrying thing is that families are losing bread winners and are left with high bills that have seen many end up bankrupt,” he said.