Under proposed reforms under Universal Health Coverage (UHC), National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) will be better placed to negotiate for quality service, Health Ministry Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki has said.
“It will not just be about walking in and out of any hospital. NHIF will be concerned with the quality of care, what amount of time patients take in a hospital and efficiency of the treatment. We are moving to patient-centric care by the insurance service provider. They are not just in the commercial space as it were,” she said.
Ms Kariuki added: “The Ministry of Health and indeed all Kenyans envision a more efficient, socially accountable and transparent NHIF. The NHIF reforms will be closely monitored, coordinated and driven concurrently with other key and ongoing service delivery-oriented reforms in the health sector.”
The agency will also be in charge of strengthening pharmaceutical practices and regulatory systems.
Ms Kariuki was speaking on Tuesday during the inauguration of an expert panel to transform and reposition NHIF.
The independent panel of experts with 17 members will be required to develop an action plan that will see the transformation of NHIF into a strategic purchaser of health services.
“They will focus on financial sustainability, which will include the analysis of the sustainability of NHIF under different financial and service coverage scenarios,” Ms Kariuki said.
They will also strengthen the financial and social accountability of the health insurer.
The panel is expected to produce its report within 90 days.
The Health ministry and the Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board will be the accrediting agencies.
“NHIF will move away from issues that are peripheral to it. The Ministry of Health and the board will carry out the work,” Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said.