Ask Kharunda: What is the Salary Scale of Credit Control Officer in Kenya Private Hospitals?
Entrepreneurship is tough business. Tougher if you are a Kenyan startup whose five year survival rate is one in ten. Gargantuan if you have taken up the challenge of delivering healthcare as your entrepreneurial quest. Whatever your entrepreneurship goal, to achieve sucess building a business in a frontier market such as ours, you’d best be advised to hire a credit control officer. Even wiser souls have elected to make a career out of this niche in Kenya’s booming health sector. For entrepreneurs, the rewards of investing in the business of credit control are plain. Something that can’t be said for those who chose this path as a career. We sought answers…
What is the Salary of Credit Control Officers?
Could you be aware what the salary scale for Credit control officers is at the best five private hospitals in Kenya? Asking for a friend. Thanks in advance (edited for clarity)
Hi, Moses (name changed)My apologies for the late reply. It is not for the lack of trying, but it is almost nigh impossible to supply you with a one off answer to your query. Nonetheless, I believe that the information that I have gathered here will prove its worth in your quest of finding out the salary scale applicable for a credit control officers in leading private hospitals in Kenya.
First, by virtue of their legal status as privately held organizations, private hospitals are not obligated law to publicly disclose certain information. What this concession in our statutes does is that it makes comparison of remuneration across different sectors/employers in the private sector for most jobs a difficult undertaking. Nonetheless, our digging around the dynamics of staff remuneration in Kenya’s health sector is indeed illuminating. So let’s “follow the money”
How you get paid working for a private hospital in Kenya
In Kenya, as is the trend globally, most leading private hospitals are registered as non-profit organizations. What this means is that they benefit from certain tax concessions. These allowances are meant to allow them to scrape the thin margins of whatever they can make as revenue from providing a service of social benefit.
The realized gains — together with monies raised through donations, and other revenue begot from non-core activities like parking fee, vendor machines, restaurant services, m-pesa — are used to finance the work of the hospital in the community.
Such work may include: outreach services, emergency care and health promotion. This revenue should also be sufficient to reward those who have invested time, effort and skill in making these private hospitals execute their primary mandate to stakeholders.
How the ‘core’ staff of private hospitals earn their keep
The management of most private hospitals, unlike in your typical private company, draw their compensation primarily in the form of salaries rather than as dividends earned as shareholders or bonuses. This is the observed trend dominating the compensation of healthcare executives both locally and globally.
A fraction of health professionals working in these private hospitals – doctors, nurses, pharmacists, laboratory staff – the likes, draw a monthly salary. In Kenya, this salary is not always better than what their peers earn in the public sector as it is commonly assumed ( and famously confirmed by Kenya’s Treasury Cabinet Secretary during the 100 day, 2016-2017 Kenya doctor’s strike .)
However, the majority of core staff earn an hourly wage paid out as locum fees. Contrary to popular opinion, in Kenya, locum rates in the Kenyan private sector often result in a lower take home packages than fully salaried positions.
Besides, earning one’s keep as periodic, contract staff makes for an unpredictable income. This is because the availability of locum positions is dependent on a health worker’s networking skills, the town they are domiciled in, the demand and the ability to pay for the health professional’s services in those areas among of a myriad of other difficult to control factors. Furthermore, aside from the expected distress of a not so sure income, under such an arrangement, without astute personal finance planning, when retirement inevitably comes, it can be such a pain.
On the other hand, bereft of a system wide collapse, and in a country such as ours with such a high demand for health care services, and given that the money to pay these ‘core’ hospital staff largely comes from patient premiums — with insurance companies pooling risk through selling health insurance — the keep of these ‘core’ staff is largely assured.
Unless of course the hospital they work for made some bad business decisions — such as not hiring a competent, CEO, accountant or even a credit control officer. Now that we have established the integral role that these non-medical core staff play in the health of private health establishments, how then do they fit in the whole shebang? The precise question is:
How does the credit control officer, accountant or even CEO earn their keep in private hospitals?
Have you ever taken time to keenly study the items on hospital bill? From the invoice of your health bill, it is often easy to tell what a certain radiological or laboratory test cost. In some cases, even what the doctor’s fee was. Supplied with this information, natural logic informs us that whatever it is that we paid for lab fees, for instance, was used to take care of the needs of the hospital lab: staff, reagents, equipment and so on.
If that holds, then who speaks for the hidden costs of running the hospital? Such as the salary of the hospitals’ CEO? How does the accountant get paid? How about the credit control officer?
The answers to these questions lie in the second reason at to why it was such a challenge answering your question, Moses. Because the truth lies in mapping the bolts and nuts that make private hospitals in Kenya run. We have to get our noses into other people’s business. Their private business…..
The Private Business of Health Care : An Overview
Private organizations often employ various business strategies in order to navigate the often stormy waters of entrepreneurship. This reality is especially true for a majority of leading private hospitals in Kenya who have to project an image of being non-profits (lest they suffer the current fate of non-profit US hospital chains facing public backlash over how much they are making.)
All this whilst still remaining viable business attracting key talent who offer strategic business advantage as credit control officers, accountants and lawyers. Over and above that, these private health organizations have to observe certain contractual obligations on privacy.
Taken together, these considerations make it difficult to know how any particular private health care organization elects to reward its employees. In fact, in such an environment, otherwise mundane information like pay-scales, becomes a closely guarded trade secret.
You also have to keep in mind that private hospitals are not immune to discriminating HR practices. Most unfortunate of these ills may manifest as pay discrepancies nee by race, sex and even tribe. With an increasingly litigious environment in Kenya, most private entities assume a safety first approach. Most private hospital’s management adopt a less is more mentality when it comes to whatever is publicly known about their operations.
Finally, ‘best’ may mean many things in Health care.
Some hospitals excel in staff training for example, Nairobi Hospital and Mater Hospitals have robust Nursing Schools, whilst Kijabe Mission Hospital stakes claim to this crown it being a teaching hospital.
Others lead in health infrastructure and health technologies, Aga Khan having put up East Africa’s first PET Scan ought be considered here.
Yet others aim to lead vide offering a wide menu of specialist care are like Kisumu Specialists Hospital and Oasis Group of Hospitals.
Still others push the envelope in their approach to health care by being advocates of cutting edge approaches to health care like value-based healthcare and evidence based health care.
What’s certain is that any of the leading private hospitals in Kenya are complex organisms with intricate, far-reaching credit relationships. My hope here is that i have painted the outlines of what to expect when tasked to be the credit control officer of any leading private hospital in Kenya.
Salaries are after all a product if negotiations. Therefore, understanding not only your role, but where you fall in the hierarchy of the animal farm that you elect to be part of is vital. But before you go, some figures, finally….
Credit Control Officer Salary Scale, Private Hospital, Kenya
One more thing though, as you go about advising your friend, encourage your friend to be on the look out for other employee benefits offered as a take home. In the current landscape I’d advice for one to be on the look out for employer offered health insurance offerings beyond NHIF.
Be also on the hunt for other sweeteners like group life cover. All the same, my contacts inform me that for a BCOM graduate working in the credit section of a mid to large-scale (turnover at least a million dollars) private hospital in Kenya the starting salary ranges between 70,000 to 120,000 Kenyan shillings per month.
All the best.