The Kenyatta National Hospital, Kenya’s leading referral hospital, has been implicated in yet another shameful scandal, leading to loss of over Sh500 million for the year ending, Auditor General Edward Ouko has said in an audit report.
It emerged that hundreds of patients at the facility have managed to escape without paying medical bills, running into hundreds of millions, which the facility management cannot account for.
The auditor’s report notes that the KNH accrued debts amounted to Sh560.6 million by the end of June 2016, in addition to another more than Sh500 million which patients sneaked without settling, after receiving medical services.
The facility management confessed that the hospital has not been able to recover medical bills form patients who are either not employed or are not on any medical insurance schemes.
“Some 78 per cent of the patients treated at KNH are either from the informal sector or unemployed. Upon clinical discharge, most of them are unable to settle medical bills, and are released from the hospital on a commitment to pay their bills in future on unsecured credit,” said Mr Simon Ithae, the Communications Director at KNH.
He further clarified that the hospital uses between Sh4,000 and Sh5,000 per day to attend to a people who have been detained at the facility over failure to pay medical bills, a move which runs the hospital into deep financial crises.
“On average, KNH spends about Sh5,000 a day to sustain a discharged patient in the ward, while the cost could rise to an average of Sh8,000 for the abandoned and receiving medical treatment,” said Mr Ithae.
Meanwhile, Mr Ouko’s report revealed that the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) owes KNH Sh311 million, which it failed to remit after the hospital provided medical services to its members.
The hospital, in its financial statement, had stated a debt of Sh67.3 million due from NHIF. This leaves a balance of about Sh243 million, and it is not clear whether the amount was paid as the management has been unable to explain the disparity.
The report also says that the KNH failed to get value for money as it had paid about Sh96 million to some foreign-based firms, which had failed to supply goods as contracted.
In another dozier, the auditor exposed that the hospital paid three firms Sh128 million under questionable circumstances.