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Kenya's Health Minister Susan Nakhumicha announced the suspension of operations at 27 hospitals nationwide Friday following a multimillion-dollar loss attributed to fraudulent activities affecting the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF).

Nakhumicha said the decision follows the exposure of a substantial loss of 20 billion Kenyan shillings ($126.7 million) during an investigation.

"The widespread nature of these alleged fraudulent cases is deeply concerning, the list of implicated facilities includes instances of induced demand, particularly targeting vulnerable citizens, notably older individuals," she said.

Nakhumicha disclosed that an extensive investigation into the fraud uncovered the misappropriation of funds between January and December 2023.

Out of 67 audited hospitals, 27 were found to be engaged in various fraudulent activities, compromising the integrity of the NHIF.

"Fictitious records, manufactured claims, and deceptive practices, such as falsely indicating members undergoing major surgeries while actively at work, have all contributed to defrauding the fund," said the Health Ministry.

The malpractice ranged from inducing sickness to activating dormant NHIF accounts of members to finance medically unwarranted treatments.

Nakhumicha expressed deep concern about the deceptive tactics employed by some hospitals, including the creation of fictitious records and the submission of manufactured claims. - Andrew Wasike, Anadolu Agency

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