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.
It should also be noted that one of the key priorities identified in the HSE's National Operational Plan 2013 is to progress a Single Assessment Tool for older people. This standardised framework will allow resources to be targeted towards those with the greatest needs and enable supports and services to be designed in the most appropriate way possible.