SUMMARY

  • Hospital charges will be determined and capped by an 11-member council that includes the Principal Secretary for Health, the Attorney General and an official from the Council of Governors.
  • Private hospitals are opposing the bid to have the government control hospital charges, arguing it risks lowering the quality of medical care.
  • The push to tame hospital bills comes as the State tabled a Bill in Parliament to control commercial and residential rents in the quest to protect tenants from sharp building lease costs.Kenya will start controlling medical bills and doctors’ fees if Parliament adopts a proposed law that aims to curb the surge in hospital expenses.

    Hospital charges will be determined and capped by an 11-member council that includes the Principal Secretary for Health, the Attorney General and an official from the Council of Governors.

    This will see hospital charges join fuel in the small list of essential services that are controlled by the government in the push to make basic items affordable.

    The cost of medical services, especially in top private hospitals, has outpaced the national inflation in recent years, adding more pressure on families at a time they are grappling with the erosion of purchasing power.

    “The Kenya Health Human Resource Advisory Council (KHHRAC) shall review policy and establish uniform norms and standards for levying of charges on the practice of conventional medicine in consultation with relevant statutory bodies and stakeholders,” says fresh amendments to the Health Act, which are before Parliament.

    Some health providers have attributed the steep rise in medical inflation to a similar rise in the cost of medicine, doctors’ fees and medical equipment that is passed on to end-users to keep afloat in business.

    The steep rise in the cost of medical services is also piling pressure on insurance premiums with demands that consumers pay more to access services.

    A section of insurers, however, accused medical practitioners of driving up medical inflation through many charges for services that patients do not need.

    Some doctors take patients through procedures such as various lab tests for which they charge the insurers exorbitantly, raising the overall cost of medicare.

    Besides the possibility of locking out low-income earners from accessing quality medical care, the increase in medical charges is expected to take a huge chunk of expenditure from the upper and middle-class families, eroding their purchasing power on discretionary expenses.

    Private hospitals are opposing the bid to have the government control hospital charges, arguing it risks lowering the quality of medical care.

0
0