Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (222)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

222. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health if he will publish the medical criteria being applied to the assessment of medical cards, and particularly those medical card applications that are over the income thresholds; if he will outline any changes that have been made to these criteria since the centralisation of medical card applications and assessment; and when these changes were made. [20892/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Following the centralisation of the overall management of the GMS Scheme to PCRS in July 2011, the assessment methodology applied to applications, that include supporting documentation to indicate that the applicant (or dependent(s), where applicable) has a medical condition, are outlined below.

Where the combined income of an applicant and spouse/partner is over the Medical Card or GP Visit Card income qualifying limits for an individual or family and they have difficult personal circumstances that cause them undue hardship, such as a family member with a particular illness, the application is considered under hardship/unduly burdensome. In such instances, evidence, for example a medical report and/or medical expense receipts will be considered. In cases where a medical condition applies, the file will be reviewed by a Medical Officer who may recommend to invoke discretion and issue a Medical Card or GP Visit Card, as considered appropriate.

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (223)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

223. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health if he will publish the operational guidelines for the assessment of medical card applications that are made on the basis of one individual family member who has a number of medical conditions. [20893/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Medical Card/GP Visit Card National Assessment Guidelines, including the guidelines which deal with income in excess of the Medical Card Guidelines and undue hardship, are available on the HSE website.

Primary Care Reimbursement Service Payments

Questions (224)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

224. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the statutory basis for the current procedures applied by the PCRS when assessing undue hardship and unduly burdensome. [20894/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Under the Health Act 1970, as amended, the HSE is responsible for assessing an individual's entitlement to a medical card and a GP visit card. Section 45 provides that adult persons who, in the opinion of the HSE are unable, without due hardship, to arrange general practitioner medical and surgical services for themselves and their dependents are deemed to be persons with full eligibility.

Section 58 provides that the HSE will make available general practitioner medical and surgical services for adult persons and their dependents for whom, in the opinion of the HSE, it would be unduly burdensome for those persons to arrange such services. In deciding whether or not a person comes with these categories, the HSE shall have regard to the person's overall financial situation in view of the person's reasonable expenditure, including his or her dependents.

Primary Care Reimbursement Service Payments

Questions (225)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

225. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health if he will confirm that the PCRS are now applying the new DPS thresholds in their determination of medical costs when assessing medical card applications. [20895/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I can confirm that the DPS monthly threshold is considered in the overall assessment of applications for a medical card/GP Visit Card in the determination of medical costs where an applicant provides supporting documentation to indicate that he/she - or dependents - have a medical condition.

Primary Care Reimbursement Service Payments

Questions (226)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

226. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health if he will confirm that the PCRS are now applying the new prescription charge rates in their determination of medical costs when assessing medical card applications. [20896/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The prescription charges, referred to by the Deputy, only apply to persons who have eligibility under the GMS Scheme.

Primary Care Reimbursement Service Payments

Questions (227)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

227. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the statutory basis for the PCRS policy of not allowing for the cost of the new property tax when determining net income for the purposes of a medical card assessment when all other taxes that can be deducted from salary are so allowed. [20897/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Under the Health Act 1970, as amended, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is responsible for assessing an individual's entitlement to a medical card and a GP visit card. Section 45 of the Act provides that adult persons who, in the opinion of the HSE are unable, without due hardship, to arrange general practitioner medical and surgical services for themselves and their dependents are deemed to be persons with full eligibility.

Section 58 of the Act provides that the HSE will make available general practitioner medical and surgical services for adult persons and their dependents for whom, in the opinion of the HSE, it would be unduly burdensome for those persons to arrange such services. The HSE has set out National Assessment Guidelines outlining what is included in the assessment process and the Local Property Tax is not included.

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (228)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

228. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the way in which current medical card criteria discriminates against persons who hold an occupational pension instead of a State pension whereby a person whose only income is an occupational pension but at the same value as the State contributory pension will not automatically qualify for a medical card whereas a person whose only income is the State pension will; and the action he will take to improve the position of occupational pension holders in this regard so that such discrimination is ended. [20898/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Medical Card/GP Visit Card National Assessment Guidelines provide for consideration of income that is derived solely from allowances/benefits paid by the Department of Social Protection or the HSE that which are in excess of the Income Guidelines.

In 2009, a new scheme was introduced for people aged 70 years and over. This new scheme set a significantly higher gross income limit for a single person, currently €600 per week and €1,200 per week for a couple. This compares with a weekly income limit of €184 for a person aged up to 65 and €266.50 for a couple and compares with a weekly income limit of €201.50 for a single person aged between 65 and 70 and €298 for a couple within that same age bracket.

Departmental Bodies

Questions (229)

Eoghan Murphy

Question:

229. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Health if he is considering appointing a toxicologist to the Irish Expert Body on Fluorides and Health. [20901/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Irish Expert Body on Fluorides and Health and its sub-committees have broad representation from areas such as dentistry, toxicology, biochemistry, environmental health and public health medicine. Given that there is a toxicologist on the New and Emerging Issues sub-committee, the appointment of a toxicologist to the Expert Body is not currently being considered.

HSE Expenditure

Questions (230)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

230. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Health if he will explain the per capita disparity in the Health Service Executive regional service plan budget for the PCCC as published on 28 February 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20903/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The current budget allocation process in the HSE is based on a historic roll forward methodology. It allocates funding on a historic basis to the care centres from where the services are provided. The system funds hospital, primary and community care in the various Integrated Service Areas (ISA) irrespective of whether the patient lives within the boundary of the ISA.

‘Future Health: A Strategic Framework for Reform of the Health Service 2012 – 2015’, published in November of last year, recognised that fundamental reform of our funding model is required. This document indicated the Government’s intention to introduce a Money Follows the Patient (MFTP) funding model in the health service to replace the historic block grant method. Detailed proposals for the roll-out of MFTP were outlined in the ‘Money Follows the Patient Policy Paper on Hospital Financing’ which was published for consultation in February. While this document focuses on public treatment in public hospitals, it highlights the intention to extend MFTP to other areas of the health service in order to support integrated care across different settings. The Government is confident that the reform of the funding system will help to deliver a greater degree of fairness, efficiency and transparency while also driving improvements in quality.

Written Answers Nos. 231 - 239 ^

Tobacco Control Measures

Questions (231, 232)

Robert Troy

Question:

231. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health in his capacity as a member of the Council of Health Ministers, if he is supporting the European Commission’s proposal to have a minimum pack size of rolling tobacco of 40g as proposed in the European Tobacco Products Directive. [20944/13]

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Robert Troy

Question:

232. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health the way he as Health Council Chair and his Department can openly support and put forward any position for Ireland in the debate on the European Tobacco Products Directive which is currently underway with EU member states during the Irish Presidency, when he stated that the analysis of the 6,400 responses received by his Department on 16 January to the public consultation to inform Ireland’s view on the Directive is still ongoing as of 16 April. [20945/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 231 and 232 together.

The Irish Government supports the overall objective of the proposal for the revised Tobacco Products Directive which is to reduce the numbers of people smoking.

In particular the aim of the revised Directive is to reduce the attractiveness of tobacco products to young people. Approximately 700,000 people die every year in the EU from tobacco related illnesses. Some of the elements of the proposed Directive are already in place in Ireland e.g. mandatory picture and text warnings on cigarette packs and minimum contents of twenty cigarettes per pack.

Ireland, as one of the Tobacco Control leaders in the EU, supports any efforts at European level to limit the harm to health, society and to the economy caused by tobacco consumption. As Chair of the negotiations on the Directive during the Irish Presidency, we are working to progress the discussions and to build consensus among the Member States to facilitate the adoption of legislation which will ultimately reduce the number of EU citizens who die from tobacco related illnesses. These negotiations are on-going and no conclusions have been reached in relation to the Commission's proposal in Article 13 that a packet of roll your own tobacco should have a minimum weight of 40g.

Mental Health Commission Remit

Questions (233)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

233. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Health the role of the Mental Health Commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20954/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Mental Health Commission is an independent statutory body established under the Mental Health Act 2001 and its key functions are laid down in Section 33 of the Act.

The principal functions of the Commission are to promote, encourage and foster the establishment and maintenance of high standards in the delivery of mental health services and to take all reasonable steps to protect the interests of persons detained in approved centres under the Act. To further protect the interests of persons involuntarily admitted to approved centres the Commission:

- appoints members of Mental Health Tribunals.

- establishes a panel of Consultant Psychiatrists to carry out independent medical examinations of persons involuntarily admitted to approved centres

- establishes a legal aid scheme for persons involuntarily admitted to approved centres.

The Commission also appoints the Inspector of Mental Health Services (Section 50, Mental Health Act 2001). In accordance with the Act, the Inspector of Mental Health Services is required to visit and inspect every approved centre annually and, as the Inspectorate think appropriate, to visit and inspect any other premises where mental health services are being provided.

The Commission publishes an Annual Report, which includes the Report of the Inspector of Mental Health Services, which is laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas.

Mental Health Services Provision

Questions (234)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

234. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health if he will confirm the position regarding assisted admissions for mentally ill patients (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20966/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter this question has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Primary Care Centres Provision

Questions (235)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

235. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health if he will provide a progress report on the proposal to develop a primary care centre at Carrickmacross, County Monaghan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20967/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Carrickmacross is one of the 35 potential locations for primary care centres to be developed by means of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) project as announced in the July 2012 Infrastructure Stimulus Package. Of the 35, approximately 20 will be offered to the market subject to a) agreement between the local GPs and the HSE on active local GP involvement in the centres and b) site suitability and availability.

Primary Care Centres Provision

Questions (236)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

236. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health if he will provide a progress report on the proposal to develop a primary care centre at Kells County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20968/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Kells is one of the 35 potential locations for primary care centres to be developed by means of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) project as announced in the July 2012 Infrastructure Stimulus Package. Of the 35, approximately 20 will be offered to the market subject to a) agreement between the local GPs and the HSE on active local GP involvement in the centres and b) site suitability and availability.

Health Services Staff Recruitment

Questions (237)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

237. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Health the role of the Chief Dental Officer; the reason the position has not been filled for some time; when he intends to advertise publicly to fill this position; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20969/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The current moratorium on the filling of posts has meant that my Department has not to date been in a position the fill the post of Chief Dental Officer. However, this matter is currently under active consideration in my Department and I expect there will be some developments on this in the near future.

Nursing Home Services

Questions (238)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

238. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the position regarding an application for residential nursing home care on behalf of a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20993/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Medical Card Reviews

Questions (239)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

239. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health if he will ensure that a medical card will be restored in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry in view of confirmation from the Department of Justice that they remain in the asylum process and have no deportation order against them, which was received by the Health Service Executive on 10 April. [20999/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.

The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated contact service for members of the Oireachtas specifically for queries relating to medical cards and GP visit cards, which the Deputy may wish to use for an earlier response. Contact information has recently reissued to Oireachtas members.