Civil servants free to choose service provider in new scheme

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Updated 6 hr(s) 45 min(s) ago

By Jackson Okoth

Civil servants are free to choose their medical service provider even as information filtering out concerning this scheme remains scanty.

"While we had previously assigned members to certain facilities, we have now given a window for civil servants to cross transfer between private, public and mission hospitals of their choice," said Richard Kerich, Chief Executive, NHIF.

"Most of the changes we have noticed so far is a shift from stand alone facilities to those with countrywide offices," said Kerich.

He made these remarks on Monday after a closed door meeting with officials of the Kenya Union of Civil Servants, where a number of thorny issues were reportedly ironed out.

For instance, most public sector employees are still in the dark and unable to obtain finer details on the recently unveiled medical scheme.

The blame has been placed on the Ministry of Public Service, the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) and the Civil Service for failure to provide information and publicise details of this scheme.

Outpatient visits

An exit survey shows that some 19,231 outpatient visits have been recorded by the medical scheme since it begun a few weeks ago.

During this period, 11 deaths have been reported while 18 cases have been referred to various inpatient facilities.

While all public hospitals and faith based facilities have agreed to treat all public servants under this medical scheme, negotiations are yet to be concluded with a number of big private hospitals. These facilities consider premiums paid under the NHIF scheme as too low.

"We have formed committees to ensure this scheme is monitored at all levels to determine its success," said Tom Odege, Secretary General, Union of Kenya Civil Servants.

He added that some 600 civil servants in all counties will undergo training in the coming week on benefits of the scheme.

A successful execution of this medical scheme, set up for civil servants and members of the disciplined forces, will require a scale up of Government health facilities, most of which still lack the required equipment and drugs. Civil servants using this scheme have to first visit an outpatient facility and will only be admitted to an inpatient service if they get a referral.

Beneficiaries of this scheme include civil servants, Kenya Police, Administration Police, the Prisons Service, the National Youth Service, and the Teachers Service Commission staffers.

The medical cover has been designed to provide in-patient, outpatient and critical illness benefits on family shared basis, life insurance, and last expense cover for principal members.

Under the plan, the minimum covers for in-patients ranges from Sh500,000 to Sh2 million per year. Outpatient cover ranges from Sh50,000 to 150,000 per year. For outpatient treatment, a patient will be required to co-pay Sh200 per visit.

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