Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (830)

Thomas P. Broughan


830. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 24 of 14 May 2014, if his officials will work with the National Adult Literacy Agency to develop a more user friendly guide for medical card applicants and persons subject to reviews of medical card applications to be fully appraised of the extent and level of documentation required on their income and any medical conditions they may have; and if he will indicate in the case of discretionary medical cards if a specific more user friendly process for applicants can be devised. [22778/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Deputy will be aware, all medical card and GP visit card holders are subject to a periodic review of eligibility to determine continuing eligibility.

All applications or reviews concerning medical and GP visit cards must be supported with a range of documentation. This requirement is clearly outlined on the relevant forms and where such supporting documentation is not supplied, or is incomplete, the HSE will issue correspondence to the applicant, specifying the additional information required.

The HSE has recently redesigned the Medical Card and GP Visit Card application forms with the help and assistance of the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA). The revised forms have a more user friendly design and have been made simpler to understand and complete. A revised ‘help and information’ section is included on the forms explaining the eligibility criteria for a Medical Card/GP Visit Card and the assessment process. The forms have been accredited the NALA approval rating for Plain English use.

In addition, a step by step video aid to completing the application form has been produced and is available to view on the HSE website HSE.ie. The website also contains comprehensive information on how to apply for a Medical Card/GP Visit Card, eligibility criteria, the assessment process, how to request a review or appeal of a decision, contact details and frequently asked questions section.

The HSE local health offices can be contacted or visited by any person who wishes to be assisted in completing their Medical Card/GP Visit Card application form or who wishes to have clarified any aspect regarding the process of assessing eligibility for a Medical Card/GP Visit Card; an information phone line 1890 252 919 is available to the public in this regard and the operating hours of this service have been extended and it is now operating from 8.00 am to 20.00 pm Monday to Friday.

The Deputy may be aware that, in response to concerns about the process of medical card assessment, the HSE is developing a revised approach to how it deals with applications by persons with illnesses.