The Meru County Assembly Health committee has been directed to investigate five private hospitals over claims of swindling elderly residents in the pretence of treating arthritis.
This is after Mr Salesio Thuranira, a human rights activist, filed a petition through the assembly Clerk citing the five hospitals for taking money from patients’ National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) cards, for services not offered.
Meru Assembly Speaker Ayub Bundi, who read the petition to the members, directed the Health committee to investigate the allegations and table a report by May 31, 2023.
Citing public interest, Mr Thuranira wants the assembly to summon the proprietors of the five hospitals to answer to the issues raised in the petition.
He has cited Afya Bora Hospital Annex, RFH Healthcare, Joy Nursing & Maternity, St Peters Hospital and Jekim Hospital based in Mwea, Nairobi and Meru, as institutions that should be probed.
“The hospitals … are well coordinated in an illegal scheme of treating Meru residents aged 44 years and above, in the pretence of curing arthritis by surgery or unknown injections,” Mr Thuranira states in the petition.
He has also listed six people, who are a section of residents said to have been swindled by the five hospitals.
The petitioner argues that the hospitals have been working with a woman identified as Winfred Kathure who recruits patients before they are ferried to Nairobi for the alleged treatment.
“Winfred goes around the villages and scouts for elderly people suffering from arthritis and holders of active NHIF cards. She lures them without the knowledge of their relatives to attend surgeries in the hospitals. For every client she convinces, she is paid Sh1,500,” the petition reads.
Mr Thuranira claims that some patients were being admitted to hostels without proper amenities, where they get injections before being discharged.
“Upon discharge, they usually receive a message from NHIF indicating that Sh300,000 has been deducted for surgery,” he states.
The petitioner said he had reported the matter to the DCI in Nkubu as well as the NHIF fraud unit but investigations were yet to be concluded.