UNPAID BILLS

Over 380 bodies detained at KNH morgue over bills

Health PS says KNH owedSh5.9 million in treatment fees and body preservation costs

In Summary

• Held patients sleep on cold floors of hospitals.

• The ministry had earlier denied that Kenyans are detained for non-payment of bills.

Kenyatta National Hospital KNH accident and emergency entrance.
Kenyatta National Hospital KNH accident and emergency entrance.
Image: FILE

Some 387 bodies are detained at the Kenyatta National Hospital mortuary for non-payment of bills, the Health ministry has said.

Principal Secretary Susan Mochache said the relatives owe KNH a total of Sh5.9 million incurred during treatment and preservation of bodies.

There were 541 bodies, including those detained, at the mortuary on March 26.

The PS, who was before the National Assembly Health Committee yesterday, said a few other public and private hospitals were holding bodies over bills.

Pandya Hospital, a private hospital in Mombasa, is detaining three bodies for non-payment of Sh2.5 million while Tabaka Mission Hospital has one body over Sh68,850 debt.

Mochache said 300 patients are being detained in various hospitals for non-payment of medical bills.

KNH tops the list with 184 patients, followed by Kakamega County Referral Hospital with 56.

Tabaka is holding 16 patients, Nakuru County Referral Hospital 15, Thika Level 5 Hospital eight and King David Hospital seven.

New Kimilili Medical Clinic and Crystal Cottage Hospital and Medical clinic have five patients each while North Kinangop Catholic Hospital has three and Kagio Nursing Home one.

The PS, in her report to the committee, said 11 hospitals are owed a total Sh6.7 billion since 2003.

KNH is owed Sh5.6 billion, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital more than Sh1 billion and Kakamega County Referral Hospital Sh3.3 million.

Mochache said the ministry has constituted a special technical team to investigate the extent of the problem.

“The team will investigate whether patients are being held in confined rooms for unpaid bills and the kind of resources they are allowed access to during the detention period,” the PS said.

The report is expected within a month.

“Legal and regulatory measures will be taken against any hospital that will be found operating a detention room for defaulting patients,” she added.

She, however, said it is the mandate of the Medical Practitioners and Dentists’ Board to monitor compliance and service delivery standards.

The ministry had earlier denied that Kenyans are detained in various hospitals due to unpaid bills.

“Our earlier position was issued based on information we had received from our officials in the facilities, but it is regrettable,” Mochache added.

Some patients have been detained in hospitals for close to a year and the hospital floors are their refuge.