Mass exodus as Nairobi women’s hospital shift blame on anti-ethical behavior

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(Nairobi Women’s Hospital management)

After the Nairobi Women’s Hospital (NWH) exposé that left them with a rotten egg on their face, the Hospital’s management is now concealing their ills by shifting blames to their competitors and a local media house.

There were detailed accusations that the medical officers at the hospital were colluding to unfairly generate revenue from patients.

According to the exposé, the medical officers in the 9 branches of the hospital are given daily targets thus are forced to conduct unnecessary laboratory tests and admissions, inflating bills as well as delay discharging of patients to accumulate more bills, especially those with insurance covers.

The hospital charges at least sh4000 on a patient for greeting a doctor who will ensure he or she passes four times a day for such pleasantries.

Accompanied with screenshots of what was happening at their branch in Nakuru, the chats showed that the revenue, commissions, admissions, and discharge numbers were allegedly being actively monitored hourly, every day and night.

The leaked chats angered many, including medical insurers.

The consequences of their love for money has seen all the leading insurance companies including Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Jubilee, Britam, AAR, Old Mutual and CIC Group suspend Nairobi Women’s hospital from their lists of accredited service providers while castigating the hospital for fraudulently inflating the hospital bills.

The Association of Kenya Insurance (AKI) announced the suspension of the hospital from the accredited list to pave way for an investigation

“Moving forward, no patients seeking medical attention at Nairobi Women’s Hospital will have their insurance provider pay their bills.” They said.

Worth noting is that, the Insurers account for 80% of the hospital’s revenue in some branches.

In one of the recent interviews done by a local TV station, the Founder of Nairobi Women’s Hospital Dr Sam Thenya shocked Kenyans when he stated that the allegations in the exposé “are not true” and that “the board policy does not tolerate such”.

His defense got full backing of the Hospital’s board of directors who maintained that the claims are not in line with the hospital’s mode of operation,

“We have noted with a lot of concern reports appearing in various media platforms in the recent past suggesting that there is some systematic approach by the hospital to unfairly generate revenue from patients,

“We believe that good clinical practice makes business sense…. We carry out regular quality audits through our quality and standards department to ensure compliance with our policies, processes and continuous improvement in areas where we find gaps,

“Although we don’t believe this is the case, and in fact it is antithetical to our foundational principles, we take these allegations very seriously and are conducting an internal review as well as cooperating with the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Council as they carry out their independent review.” the statement from the board read in part.

It is surprising that the board of directors of Nairobi Women’s Hospital is continuously denying the claims before the probe is conducted.

They went on to ask the CEO Dr Felix Wanjala to step aside the Kenyan way for investigations to be conducted. Wanjala before stepping aside chose the following words carefully to protect the ‘image’ and ‘reputation’ of the hospital.

“Although I don’t believe the allegations are true, I want our patients to regain confidence in us. To achieve this, we need an independent review of our operations,” he said.

This is the same Dr Wanjala who has been detaining patients and even dead bodies for months, year(s). At one time after an exposé done by a local TV station, Dr Wanjala had to release some of the detained patients in the middle of the night, just hours after he had denied in an interview that was conducted through a phone call that he was “out of town and would speak on the matter when he is back.”

Dr Wanjala has been allegedly used by the management to actualise the dirty deals at the hospital. In a leaked conversations in a WhatsApp group, Dr Wanjala together with the Chief Operations Officer Eunice Munyingi kept pushing employees “to work harder and increase admissions.” Theirs was money and nothing else.

Doctors and nurses in particular under the leadership of the two, were allegedly being coerced “to find reasons to admit patients to meet the hourly and daily targets, even if those reasons were an absolute lie”. According to sources, there “was a financial reward paid to clinical officers for each admission”

What is crystal clear in all these denials is that money is more important to the founder Dr Sam than the lives of the patients.

Dr Sam was once quoted saying that “…money is important. In fact, I’d call it Vitamin M. It is important and essential to have some money because it gives access to goods and services. Two, as the Bible says, the pursuit for money is the root of all evil.” Could the happenings at the hospital been fueled by the last line?

Back in 2012, the Nairobi Women’s Hospital was heavily accused on social media of being devil worshippers, sacrificing humans. Dr Thenya confirmed this ‘social media problem’ in a past interview.

Dr Sam has forgotten the sole mission for starting the hospital and instead of absorbing abused women to its Gender Violence Recovery Centre for free, the hospital is now abusing the rights of patients by extorting them through unnecessary inflation of bills. This is a fact that does not need shifting of blames.

Fighting back

Nairobi Women’s Hospital is shamelessly fighting back. In their strategy, they are not going down without a fight.

First, the Nairobi Women’s Hospital is questioning why the complaints raised about the hospital’s malpractices were tied to its investors and capitalists at a time NWH has reportedly received about 80% of Venture Capital coming to Kenya in the medical space.

So Nairobi women’s hospital want Kenyans to believe that the unethical concerns raised by Kenyans were actually targeting their perceived “economic success”.

Secondly, they are blaming the Nation Media Group for singling out the Nairobi Women’s Hospital in their coverage. They are accusing them for constantly recycling the same story about Nairobi Women’s Hospital in all their platforms.

They are concerned that every morning at around 6:30am for over 10 days, the Daily Nation tweets out the exposé.

They are also crying foul that Nation media group happened to ran a story that covered about ten pages touching on the filth at the Nairobi Women’s Hospital.

Nairobi Women’s Hospital now want Kenyans to sympathise with them because Nation Media group singled them out of the many private hospitals that were mentioned in the exposé that touched the rot in their hospital. In fact according to the Nairobi Women’s Hospital, the exposé was a pure witch hunt.

So in their cheap PR stunts, they want Kenyans to believe that there was no inflation of bills, unnecessary laboratory tests and admissions, no daily targets and that what was happening is a mere competition between Nairobi Women’s hospital and Aga Khan hospital since Nation media group is owned by Aga Khan Group. They want Kenyans to be convinced that Nation Media Group were using Nairobi Women’s hospital as a sacrificial lamb in order to protect Aga Khan Hospital and that journalists from Nation media group are unprofessional.

Thirdly, the Nairobi Women’s Hospital are blaming the insurers for pulling out over what they termed as extortion since those with insurance covers were mostly targeted. On this the Nairobi Women’s Hospital are arguing that the insurers who suspended their contracts with them are rogue and were only working with them because patients were demanding that they would only take insurance cover if Nairobi Women’s Hospital was part of the panel of hospitals covered. They are even inciting the private hospital associations to also do a similar thing to the insurers.

What Nairobi Women’s Hospital should know is that this is not the time to tell Kenyans that the likes of Nairobi Hospital, Gertrude and Aga Khan are registered as not for profit to exempt them from paying taxes.

The Nairobi Women’s Hospital should have a discussion with itself and address all the ills. No cheap PR stunts will save them out of this mess.

It doesn’t matter how many millions you will spend on the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Council which will be conducting an “independent scrutiny” into the allegations; and the parliamentary health committee to give the hospital clean bill of health, Kenyans already know the truth. It’s either the hospital address the concerns or wait for the rude shock.

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