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How Private Hospitals Have Been Minting Millions From Patients Through Deception

kra, nairobi women's hospital
Nairobi Women's Hospital. [Courtesy]

Several private hospitals are taking advantage of the sick and extorting money from them without concrete grounds.

According to Whatsapp screenshots shared by Twitter handle @Owaahh, managers and doctors in the hospitals such as the Nairobi Women’s Hospital have been ordering unnecessary tests and admitting patients unnecessarily, to mint money ‘maximally’ from them.

In one incident at Nairobi Women’s Hospital in Nakuru, one of the managers is urging the attendants to lock all discharges since “the numbers are bad”.

In this screenshot, an order is being given to revoke some discharges to maintain numbers.

In another screenshot, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) Eunice Munyingi tells someone that s/he is discharging patients too fast, and it is “not sustainable”.

As if it is a marketing exercise, the CEO of the Hospital Mr Felix Wanjala regularly gives targets to be achieved, which in this case could trigger unprofessional conducts.

Read: CS Kariuki Directs Medical Council To Probe Nairobi Hospital After Patient From ICU Got Stuck In Lift For Over An Hour

In the screenshot below, Mr Wanjala is giving the team a ‘target’ to achieve within two hours.

In the screenshot below, the CEO and COO are hounding someone (presumably a doctor called Victoria) about why she discharged more patients than planned.

In another screenshot, the CEO is telling his team to hit certain daily revenue targets, which is done by admitting patients when they do not need to be admitted, sending them to the lab when it’s not necessary among others.

The same is done for patients with insurance, who are encouraged to do as many tests as possible to achieve certain targets.

In November 2013, Abraaj Group and Swedfund, a State-owned firm, bought a stake worth Ksh564 million ($6.5 million) in the health facility, effectively giving them a combined shareholding of 49 per cent and leaving the hospital’s founder, Sam Nthenya, the majority owner with 51 per cent shares.

Swedfund invested $4 million for a 19.2 per cent, while Abraaj Capital’s $2.5 million was valued at 12 per cent stake. Abraaj Group, through its Africa Health Fund, had already bought a $2.6 million stake in 2010, which makes it the second biggest owner of the hospital.

This could explain the reason there is so much pressure to mint money from patients, even when they are not ‘so sick’.

Read: Two Directors Resign From Troubled Nairobi Hospital Board

In 2014, another patient says that he was referred for surgery for a minor cut that healed after five days.

“So in 2014 I got constipated. I had no idea I was so of course I forced shit that resulted in a minor cut. I freaked out & went to Nairobi Women’s Hurlingham. Thank goodness I called my sister. So we went in together the doc examined me and instilled the fear of the lord in me. He said that I had to be admitted for surgery to stitch it. I was so scared. Again we thank God my sister was there. She’s the one who told the doctor we will go home and think about it. So I went to another doctor and he told me to sit in salt water that it’s normal. I healed in 5 days. Imagine if I was alone I would have done surgery for nothing. I stopped trusting that hospital afterwards,” says the patient.

It is said that it is the same case at Aga Khan Hospital, where the doctors can depict direct incompetence just to hit targets.

The behavior seems to be so persistence in Nairobi Hospital Nakuru branch, where you can be admitted for the slightest sickness and given medicine after medicine.

Several of the private hospitals have been bought by foreign investors, and as Owaahh opines, it is not for better health care but for profits.

“The billions invested were not for altruism or to provide better healthcare. They were investments in the purest definition of the word, so it was expected that they would not only return the investment, but provide profits in perpetuity. Everything became fair game,” writes Owaahh.

Here’s the full thread:-

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Written by Francis Muli

Senior reporter at Kahawa Tungu, Muli has a passion for human interest stories. Believes in unearthing societal rots that have been hidden from the public eye.
Follow me on Twitter @FmuliKE. Email francis@kahawatungu.com

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