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After Reaching a Conclusive Deal With NHIF, Clinical Officers Call Off Strike

Clinical officers have called off a strike that was set to begin this Friday.

They had threatened to boycott work if the NHIF did not rescind a decision that barred clinicians from offering services to NHIF-registered patients.

The Kenya Union of Clinical Officers and Kenya Clinical Officers Association had given a strike notice on November 18.

In a statement on Thursday, KUCO said it had reached an agreement with the NHIF to provide a list of its gazetted members and institutions managed by clinical officers for review.

“NHIF, in line with its strategic intent on stakeholder engagement, has held meetings which have resulted in reaching an amicable solution over concerns of our members.”

“The NHIF has agreed to review the provisions that limit clinical officers from offering services to NHIF beneficiaries,” the union said.

Clinicians were objecting to the rule that required them to seek approval from medical officers before billing patients they offer.

While issuing the strike ultimatum, KUCO secretary general George Gibore said clinical officers were forced to seek approval from medical officers before authorising billing of NHIF-registered patients for medical procedures.

“If I want to do a scan for a patient, I have to find a medical officer to give me their registration number yet they will not interpret the Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan,” he said.

However, the Kenya Medical Pharmacists and Dentists Union has objected to NHIF’s move and threatened to move to court.

KMPDU secretary general Ouma Oluga said clinical officers have arm-twisted the NHIF to give in to their demands. He alleged this opened the door to fraud and commercialisation.

“NHIF has been blackmailed into submission,” Oluga said.

He said clinicians have no business offering some of the services such as MRI and scans since they will not interpret the results, resulting in double payments by the patients.

“Why would someone want to do a CT scan and MRI then send a patient to a specialist who will demand the same test and more payment,” he said.

Olunga acknowledged that clinical officers play a big role in offering primary health care, but said there should no infighting.

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