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US investors take over operations at Nairobi Women’s Hospital.

Monday February 10 2020
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The Mombasa branch of Nairobi Women's Hospital. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By NASIBO KABALE

The US-based private equity firm that owns the Nairobi Women’s Hospital has taken over operations of the facility after the CEO, Dr Felix Wanjala, stepped aside.

In a statement, the board confirmed that Dr Wanjala agreed to step aside while an internal review and an independent inspection by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council is carried out.

During this time, representatives of private equity firm Evercare Health Fund will run operations at the facility.

“In the interim, the leadership of Nairobi Women’s Hospital will be undertaken by an Operating Committee reporting to the Board. This committee comprises three Evercare representatives,” the statement from the board said in part.

The board did not name the representatives who will now take charge.

The US investor oversees the hospital’s operations on behalf of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and US pension funds that provided financing exclusively spent in healthcare investments.

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The PE fund, previously known as TPG, took over the stakes that were previously held by troubled Abraaj.

TROUBLES

The hospital's troubles began with leaked conversations that showed how the hospital's bosses set daily targets for the number of patients that would be admitted.

The Nationran an expose a fortnight ago detailing the extent to which the management was going to optimise profits, sometimes making inpatients stay longer than was necessary in order to accumulate higher bills.

Insurance firms last week cut links with the hospital, saying they would no longer reimburse both inpatient and outpatient claims at any of the hospital's branches.

The companies, including Jubilee, Britam, AAR, Old Mutual and CIC Group, said the suspension will remain in force pending a thorough review of the hospital’s services and will not affect insured customers already admitted.

Days later, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) sent out a memo to all its staff notifying them that it had suspended the facility from its list of service providers.

On Saturday, Dr Wanjala said reports that the facility puts revenue ahead of patient care are "very serious" and that he will step aside to allow investigations into the matter.

"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.

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