These Are The Frustrations We go Through Under TSC’s AON MINET: Teachers Tell Nyamunga
Since the inception of AON MINET as health care service provider to teachers by the teachers’ service commission under close support by the teachers unions, KNUT and KUPPET, teachers have not been a happy lot. This was evidenced when Nominated senator honorable ROSE Nyamunga triggered a senate probe into the sensitive matter.
Nyamunga was informed of the plight of teachers through a letter, which was mailed to her by an affected teacher. According to the teacher, what he went through at BLISS medical centre Bondo has been experienced by 95% of his colleagues in other AON accredited hospitals. The 2 paged letter summarized what teachers go through under AON MINET.
Road side clinics
The letter begins by mocking AON MINET accredited hospitals, terming them as road side clinics on the roofs of other buildings. They lack wards, thus are not capable of providing inpatient services to teachers. Who said teachers or their dependents cannot suffer cases involving admission?
Limited Working Hours
According to the letter, Most of the clinics operate only between 8am and 5pm, inconveniencing teachers or their dependants who fall ill at night. ‘Waiting up to 8am to receive low quality treatment is not only inhuman but also lethal,’ quotes the letter.
Nyamunga was also startled that Teachers pay ksh. 50 for consultation fee yet they remit their dues. Why can’t consultation fees be included in the invoice containing teachers’ bills, which BLISS GVS sends directly to AON MINET after treating the teachers? Teachers wonder if there is anything hidden since even if it was consultation, ksh 50 is way back too little to serve as consultation fees. So, where does this ksh 50 go? Of concern is the fact that a few mission hospitals like Maseno mission hospital does not charge this KSH, 50 ‘consultation’ fee. However, their network is ever down and they also fear dealing with AON MINET insured patients.
Remotely Located Teachers
The letter notes that most of the clinics are in urban centres yet 80% of teachers and their dependants stay in some little known fairly accessible villages in Kenya. It pains so much to travel to the hospital, only to be given a paracetamol tab, whose price is too much lower than the travelling expenses. Teachers suspect that this is deliberate so that they give up travelling all the way to towns for treatment, a decision which only fattens AON MINET. The account is a clearing account and therefore each teacher’s contributions for a particular year must be cleared by the end of the year even if they never sought services from the facility.
Long Waiting Hours
Sometimes, the teachers are forced to wait for a whole day at the waiting bay of BLISS clinics due to network or power breakdowns. Teachers cannot be served until a digital data is taken. Why can’t bliss be flexible, and switch to manual data capture under such circumstances?
The letter alleges that some AON MINET accredited facilities lack adequate specialists like opticians and dentists. The few who are there serve more than one county at time, and therefore have their scheduled days of appearing at each hospital. A teacher who unknowingly seeks special treatment when the specialist is serving elsewhere has to come back another day. AON MINET management assumes that all teachers stay in the lower floors of the buildings that house AON MINET accredited hospitals. Some teachers spend a lot to seek theses services.
The letter has termed these special services a raw deal to teachers. On the dental services for instance, only tooth extraction is catered for by AON MINET. Other most crucial services like cleaning, refilling, root canal treatment and tooth replacement or dentures are not covered. For optical services, AON MINET only covers new glasses once a year. They do not cover repair of the glasses, yet sometimes in the course of the year, glasses may require replacement of broken glasses or frames. Glasses are very delicate and may suffer some damages even before the year ends. In fact, cover on glasses should be unconditionally unlimited.
Teachers with babies even suffer more since no AON MINET accredited facility has a pediatrician, yet some cases in babies require the highest level of specialism and not trial and error things.
Own procurement of Drugs
These days, BLISS hospitals even refer teachers to other chemists to buy some drugs at their own cost, yet the same drugs are captured in the invoices sent to AON MINET. The drug stores of these hospitals are empty!! Why must they reduce themselves to only weight taking and pressure readings?
So far, most hospitals have terminated their contracts with AON MINET, citing delays in approval of their invoices and paying their claims. This makes the hospitals to turn away teachers from their facilities like dogs. Only BLISS, among other few hospitals, still works with AON MINET.
“This is really absurd, considering that at times the life of a teacher might be at stake. It beats logic why they cannot get the best of health services available considering the role they play in shaping the future generation of this country,” Notes Nyamunga.
As per the statement, teachers face challenges while lodging claims with AON MINET and that there is limited access due to rigid operating hours in some health facilities.
“If we cannot treat our teachers with dignity, then we have lost it as a country because when a teacher is frustrated, the trickle-down effect will definitely affect our children,” says the Ruto allied Senator.
Why Can’t They Seek Clients from our Staffrooms?
Finally, the letter questions why other insurance companies seek clients in staffrooms and other offices yet AON MINET is having everything on a silver plata. Why can’t they seek insurees in offices like other insurance firms? How special are they? One of the reasons why AON MINET frustrates teachers is because it never begged teachers to subscribe to their healthcare services in the first. Teachers found themselves there!