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Blow to renal patients as court declines to stop NHIF new rates

Petitioner claims decision of insurer threatens his right to highest standard of health care

In Summary
  • However, Justice Aburili, in declining to issue the orders, said the petitioner will suffer no prejudice if orders are not granted at this stage because he has not been denied renal care services.
  • Aburili said granting orders now will adversely affect many other renal health care seekers.
A child holds a copy of his parents' NHIF card.
A child holds a copy of his parents' NHIF card.
Image: FREDRICK OMONDI

A Siaya court has declined to stop NHIF from implementing the reduced dialysis capitation for renal care patients under the comprehensive contract.

A patient moved to court late last year claiming that the decision by NHIF is a threat to his and the more than 5,000 renal care patients in Kenya the right to the highest attainable standard of health protected under the law.

He was seeking conservatory orders but the court declined to issue the orders until the case is heard and determined.

The male patient had argued that NHIF violated his rights by reducing the dialysis benefit cover in view of the increase in the cost of treatment for cancer.

He said that action is contrary to his legitimate expectations to affordable and quality healthcare that is sustainable.

However, Justice Roselyne Aburili, in declining to issue the orders, said the petitioner will suffer no prejudice if orders are not granted at this stage because he has not been denied renal care services.

The court further said that he had been asked to pay the extra money Sh3,500 to top up to Sh 9,000 capitation previously paid by the NHIF for renal care patients.

Judge Aburili said granting orders now will adversely affect many other renal health care seekers.

This is because there is a dispute on the status quo regarding an already signed comprehensive contract between NHIF and the service providers.

The judge said if orders are issued the health care seekers will demand for enhanced payments to health service providers contrary to the contract signed.

“For the above reasons, I decline to grant any conservatory orders at this stage and direct that the application be considered on its merits inter partes,” the court said.

NHIF had strongly opposed issuing of any orders at this stage.

They said if the conservatory orders are issued now, yet the service providers are simply implementing a contract entered into with NHIF, then all the more than 10 million Kenyans under the said cover will be affected negatively.

The national insurer further argued that that there is no evidence of any threat to the life of the petitioner or him being denied the dialysis services.

He has also not been asked to pay the extra Sh3,500 to make up for Sh9,000 capitation previously paid by NHIF, and that any loss can be compensated by damages or by reimbursement.

The case will be mentioned before the trial court in Kisumu on January 27 for directions.

 

(edited by Amol Awuor)