Medical Card Applications

Questions (806)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

806. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health the reasons the Health Service Executive are not accepting an official letter from the Revenue Commissioners the new self assessment notice Chapter 4 of part 41A TCA 1997 in order to process a medical card application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22663/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I have asked the Health Service Executive for a report on the issue raised by the Deputy. I will revert to the Deputy on the matter as soon as possible.

Health Services Provision

Questions (807)

Willie Penrose

Question:

807. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Health if he will expedite an appointment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22665/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In relation to the particular patient query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to him directly.

Hospital Appointment Status

Questions (808)

Willie Penrose

Question:

808. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Health if he will take steps to have a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath immediately admitted for an MRI scan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22679/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In relation to the particular patient query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to him directly.

Hospital Services

Questions (809, 810, 877, 878, 886)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

809. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health when and the way in which he and the Health Service Executive provide funding to clear the backlog of a waiting list for bariatric surgery in Loughlinstown weight management clinic and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22683/14]

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Mattie McGrath

Question:

810. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health when will he honour his commitment to ensure that the waiting list for bariatric surgery is reduced to one year and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22684/14]

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Clare Daly

Question:

877. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health when and the way he and the Health Service Executive will provide funding to clear the backlog of a waiting list for bariatric surgery in Loughlinstown weight management clinic. [22968/14]

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Clare Daly

Question:

878. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health further to his commitment when will the waiting list for bariatric surgery be reduced to one year. [22969/14]

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Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

886. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Health if he will ensure that the Health Service Executive provides funding to clear a backlog in the waiting list for bariatric surgery in Loughlinstown weight management clinic; if he is on target to honour his commitment to ensure the waiting list for bariatric surgery is reduced to one year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23007/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 809, 810, 877, 878 and 886 together.

In relation to the detailed queries raised, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy.

Medical Card Administration

Questions (811)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

811. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health if he will confirm that a private company (details supplied) in Dublin 3 has been contracted to assess medical card applications here; the level of training they have for assessing medical cards; if he will specify their background in social care work; if they have Garda clearance; the level of access they have to computerised systems involving medical card information, previous company; if the medical card helpline is also run by a private company; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22686/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I have asked the Health Service Executive for a report on the issue raised by the Deputy. I will revert to the Deputy on the matter as soon as possible.

Medical Card Applications

Questions (812)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

812. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a medical card application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22692/14]

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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 issued to Oireachtas members.

Medical Card Appeals

Questions (813)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

813. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a medical card appeal in respect of persons (details supplied) and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22693/14]

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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 issued to Oireachtas members.

Medical Card Administration

Questions (814)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

814. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health the reason the Health Service Executive's medical card clients' register does not have the capacity to indicate or note that a medical card holder has Down's syndrome, in order to avoid the hassle and upset of issuing medical card holders with Down's syndrome, which is a lifelong condition, with renewal letters and making them submit new applications regularly when clearly their situation has not changed; his plans to upgrade the HSE client register system currently in place so that it can note important information such as this about clients; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22702/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Under the provisions of the Health Act 1970 (as amended), eligibility for health services in Ireland is based primarily on residency and means. The Act provides that persons, who are unable to arrange GP services for themselves and family without undue hardship, having regard to their overall financial situation, can qualify for a medical card. The HSE can only award medical cards in accordance with the Health Act and, therefore, it must assess the means and reasonable expenditure of the applicant, and his or her spouse or partner.

While there is no automatic entitlement to a medical card for persons with specific illnesses, or with a disability, the HSE has discretion to award a medical card to avoid undue hardship, having regard to person's or the family’s overall financial situation, even where the person's income exceeds the income guidelines. The HSE is obliged to operate within the legal parameters as set out in the Health Act, while also responding to the variety of circumstances and complexities faced by individuals who apply for a medical card. As I have outlined, the 1970 Act established a financial means assessment and medical card eligibility is granted on the basis of the financial situation of the applicant. The nature of a disease or illness an applicant may have is not the basis for granting eligibility and, therefore, is not an indicator on the HSE's clients’ registers.

All medical card and GP visit card holders, regardless of the card having been awarded on the basis of means or where discretion was involved, are subject to a periodic review of eligibility to determine continuing eligibility and the HSE has a very structured protocol in place for the review process and makes every effort to ensure on-going engagement with clients during this process. In order to have all of the circumstances of the applicant taken into account, it is necessary to have these reviews supported by a range of documentation and this requirement is clearly outlined on the application forms. As a result, where such supporting documentation is not supplied, or is incomplete, to enable the assessment of an application, in accordance with the National Assessment Guidelines, the HSE will issue correspondence to the applicant, specifying the additional information required to progress the assessment of their application.

The Long Term Illness Scheme is an illness/condition based scheme under which Downs Syndrome is covered and for which entitlement applies, irrespective of means. Where persons with Down's Syndrome are not eligible for a medical card following an assessment of their means, the HSE can provide their full requirements in respect of prescribed medicines and appliances free of charge through this statutory entitlement. Public dental, ophthalmic and aural treatment and appliances are also available free of charge to children and in respect of any difficulties identified at child health or school health examinations.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Eligibility

Questions (815)

Dara Murphy

Question:

815. Deputy Dara Murphy asked the Minister for Health with regard to the nursing home support scheme, the reason the income of children and other relatives who live in the same house, is not taken into account; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22703/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Department is currently in the process of drafting regulations to provide for allowances to be made in respect of dependent children under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme. The regulations are due for completion in the coming months.

The Nursing Homes Support Scheme is currently the subject of a review. It is expected that the review will be completed in the coming months and the Report will then be made publicly available.

Hospital Appointment Status

Questions (816)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

816. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Health if he will ensure that an urgent surgical procedure is carried out in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22707/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The National Waiting List Management Policy, A standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, January 2013, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, which has been adopted by the Health Service Executive, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

In relation to the particular query raised by the Deputy, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to him on this matter.

Hospitals Expenditure

Questions (817)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

817. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health if payment-expenses are paid to St. James's Hospital board members; if so, if that sum is €1,000 a month; if the payment is made, if it is for attending meetings; and the number of meetings a month that are held. [22713/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Eligibility

Questions (818)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

818. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if he will review the weekly payment in respect of the fair deal scheme in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22714/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Where an applicant is being provided with financial support under the scheme, the HSE may either at its own initiative or at the request of the applicant carry out a review. A person's financial assessment can only be reviewed, at their request, if 12 months have passed since the initial financial assessment or the most recent review, or if the HSE is satisfied that there has been a material change to the person's financial circumstances.

As this is a service matter it has been forwarded to the HSE for direct reply.

Mental Health Services Provision

Questions (819)

Colm Keaveney

Question:

819. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 4 of 14 May 2014, if he will provide details of the contents of the March 2014 memorandum issued by the national director of mental health services to all relevant managers, re-emphasising the requirements in relation to the reporting of sudden unexplained deaths; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22715/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I have asked the Health Service Executive to furnish the Deputy with a copy of the memorandum issued by the National Director Mental Health Services on 7 March 2014.

Mental Health Services Provision

Questions (820)

Colm Keaveney

Question:

820. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 623 of 13 May 2014, if he will provide details of the difficulties with the previous NSUE model referred to in his response; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22716/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Since October 2012, the HSE has been pursuing with the NSUE issues regarding the governance and day to day management of the organisation raised with it by some NSUE Executive members and some staff of the NSUE. Unfortunately, to date, the HSE has been unable to bring these matters to a satisfactory resolution due to the unavailability of key individuals from NSUE over an extended period of time. Arising in part out of that experience, I understand that the HSE having lost confidence in the capacity of the NSUE to operate in accordance with the financial regulations of the public service which apply to all publicly funded organisations, took the decision to cease the funding of the organisation from July 2013.