Doctors threaten strike over new KRA payment model

Tuesday, March 19th, 2024 04:00 | By
Health CS Susan Nakhumicha
Health CS Susan Nakhumicha. PHOTO/Print

Kenya Medical Association (KMA) has opposed the Electronic Tax Invoice Management System (eTIMS) and demanded its immediate suspension.

KMA President Dr Simon Kigondu yesterday said Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) should suspend eTIMS rollout in the medical service sector for doctors, dentists, pharmacists and hospitals within seven days to allow room for discussions and agreement on a common position on issues raised including a complete exemption of its implementation in the healthcare sector.

“In the event that KRA shall not have suspended the rollout of ETIMS as stated, we will have no choice but to call for a nationwide strike with effect from Tuesday, March 26, alongside pursuing an urgent application in court to stop eTIMS implementation on grounds that it is clear violation of the constitutional rights to healthcare, data protection and privacy,” Kigondu said in a statement.

With the introduction of the eTIMS through the Finance Act, 2023, he said KRA is seeking to force medical practitioners disclose patient data including patients’ names, sex, hospitalisation and treatment details to the Government through the system.

This, he said, will expose the public prejudice in employment opportunities and public service provision, referring to reports on how KRA used medical and pregnancy tests to deny deserving employment to Kenyans.

“Implementation of the KRA eTIMS to medical services is a clear and self-evident breach of the Constitution, which stipulates that every person in Kenya is bound under the Bill of Rights in Chapter IV of the Constitution. The right to health is a fundamental human right guaranteed in the Constitution but eTIMS is designed to cripple the provision of medical services in Kenya,” he stated.

He said the system is not possible for medical professionals and specifically hospitals, medical practitioners, dentist and pharmacists to process the sensitive health data required for invoicing under eTIMS without violating the Constitution and the laws as established in Kenya including but not limited to the Health Act, Patient Rights, Data Protection Act, Hippocratic Oath, Medical Practitioners and Dentists Act and the Digital Health Act.

“The KRA and Treasury appear unaware of the Constitution and these laws that govern medical practice in Kenya. They are putting taxes before health and money before life. If the peoples’ health suffers from lack of medical care, and they are unable to work, whose incomes will they tax and for whose benefit?” he posed.

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