Medical Card Applications

Questions (205)

Tom Fleming

Question:

205. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Health if he will expedite a medical card application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29476/13]

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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.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme

Questions (206)

Dan Neville

Question:

206. Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Health the position regarding nursing home support in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29500/13]

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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.

Nursing Home Services

Questions (207)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

207. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health if he will address an issue regarding the viability of a facility (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29501/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The introduction of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme in October 2009 fundamentally changed the way in which long-term nursing home care is funded and, consequently, the way in which nursing homes are funded. In the past, some nursing homes would have been allocated a lump sum annually by the HSE. However, the new scheme supports the individuals in need of long-term nursing home care, not the facilities providing the care. It is designed to ensure that nursing homes are not being funded for empty beds.

In order to be an approved nursing home for the purposes of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme all private nursing homes, and voluntary nursing homes which previously received funding for long-term residential care under section 39 of the Health Act 2004, must negotiate and agree a price for the cost of long-term nursing home care with the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF). This is necessary due to the commitment by the State to meet the full balance of the cost of care over and above individuals' contributions.

The NTPF is independent in the performance of this function and, in carrying it out, must ensure value for money for both the individual and the State. The NTPF negotiates with each nursing home individually and may examine the records and accounts of nursing homes as part of the process. If price negotiations break down, a three stage review process can be invoked. Details of the process are set out on the NTPF website. Given the independence of the NTPF, the Minister for Health cannot intervene in the negotiations between it and the nursing home referred to by the Deputy.

Finally, the Nursing Homes Support Scheme is currently being reviewed. One of the terms of reference of the review is an examination of the overall cost of long term residential care in public and private nursing homes and the effectiveness of the current methods of negotiating/setting prices. Work will continue on the review in the coming months with a view to completion by end 2013/early 2014.

Nursing Home Inspections

Questions (208)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

208. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health if he is concerned that a disconnect exists between the Health Information and Quality Authority and the National Treatment Purchase Fund and that there is a price squeeze that could negatively impact on the standard of care provided by private and voluntary homes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29502/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In order to be an approved nursing home for the purposes of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme all private nursing homes, and voluntary nursing homes which previously received funding for long-term residential care under section 39 of the Health Act 2004, must negotiate and agree a price for the cost of long-term nursing home care with the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF). This is necessary due to the commitment by the State to meet the full balance of the cost of care over and above individuals' contributions.

The NTPF is independent in the performance of this function and, in carrying it out, it must ensure value for money for both the individual and the State. The NTPF negotiates with each nursing home individually and may examine the records and accounts of nursing homes as part of the process. The NTPF assesses nursing home process under four criteria:

- costs reasonably and prudently incurred by the nursing home and evidence of value for money,

- price(s) previously charged,

- local market price, and

- budgetary constraints and the obligation on the State to use available resources in the most beneficial, effective and efficient manner to improve, promote and protect the health and welfare of the public.

If price negotiations break down, a three stage review process can be invoked. Details of the process are set out on the NTPF website.

Under the Health Act 2007, statutory responsibility is given to the Chief Inspector of Social Services, part of the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), for the independent inspection and registration of all nursing homes, private and public. This responsibility is underpinned by a comprehensive regulatory framework and the National Quality Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People in Ireland. All nursing homes are subject to the same core standards and regulations in relation to quality and safety in order to ensure the well-being of their residents.

Nursing Home Services

Questions (209)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

209. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health if he sees an urgent requirement for a transparent commissioning framework to support investment to meet significant increase in demand for long term residential care; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29503/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In order to be an approved nursing home for the purposes of the Scheme all private nursing homes, and voluntary nursing homes which previously received funding for long-term residential care under section 39 of the Health Act 2004, must negotiate and agree a price for the cost of long-term nursing home care with the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF). This is necessary due to the commitment by the State to meet the full balance of the cost of care over and above individuals' contributions.

The NTPF is independent in the performance of this function and, in carrying it out, it must ensure value for money for both the individual and the State. The NTPF negotiates with each nursing home individually and may examine the records and accounts of nursing homes as part of the process.

As the Deputy is aware the Nursing Homes Support Scheme is currently being reviewed. One of the terms of reference of the review is an examination of the overall cost of long term residential care in public and private nursing homes and the effectiveness of the current methods of negotiating/setting prices. Work will continue on the review in the coming months with a view to completion by end 2013/early 2014.

Nursing Home Services

Questions (210)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

210. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health if he will establish a forum on long term residential care to discuss and plan the future of long term residential care here and the broader care requirements of an ageing society; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29504/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 674 of 28 May 2013.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme

Questions (211)

Seán Fleming

Question:

211. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health if an application for the fair deal scheme was granted to a person (details supplied) in County Laois; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29517/13]

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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.