The national insurance scheme is rolling out mass biometric registration as it migrates from the use of NHIF cards and national IDs.

Clinicians across the country are threatening to stop attending to all NHIF accredited patients due to alleged discrimination by the national health insurer.

Speaking in Nairobi on Tuesday, July 13, the union officials issued a seven-day ultimatum to the national insurer to amend the application forms in the ongoing biometric registration and facility accreditation portal to allow the capture of Clinical Officers Council (COC) registration numbers.

In the absence of any corrective measures, the union has threatened to hold demonstrations to the NHIF headquarters to ensure that their demands are met.

“We have received numerous complaints from our members on the ongoing nationwide biometric registration that has put discriminative and unrealistic demands for clinical officers’ facilities to be registered on the Electronic Claims Management System,” Kenya Union of Clinical Officers Secretary General George Gibore said.

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Mr Gibore added that “while the union applauds the initiative, we are, however, concerned that the exercise has sidelined medical facilities operated by clinical officers licensed by their regulator, the Clinical Officers Council.”

According to the Mr Gibore, the move demands mandatory registration by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council (KMPDC).

He said the demand for double registration of facilities run by clinical officers by COC and KMPDC for accreditation is not only discriminative but it overstretches the regulatory mandate of KMPDC while overlooking the self-regulation as spelt out in Clinical Officers Act 2017.

A letter from the Ministry of Health dated January 30, 2019 stipulated that healthcare centres run by clinicians be recognized for accreditation by the NHIF once they have met the necessary requirements.

The letter also stated that clinicians should be allowed to prescribe advanced diagnostics as per their scope of training and specialty.

“It is worth noting that despite the above explicit directive and other numerous correspondences from the ministry on the above issues, NHIF has declined to implement the above directive which amounts to insubordination.”

The national insurance scheme is rolling out mass biometric registration as it migrates from the use of NHIF cards and national identity cards as the mode of identification both of which have provided loopholes for fraudulent claims.

In a move to eliminate manual processing of hospital bills, the biometric registration will run in sync with the installation of an electronic claims system.

One can register their biometric details- fingerprint details of principal members and their dependents-either at various NHIF service points or designated hospitals across Kenya.

(Additional reporting by Noela Toywa)

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