Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Questions (127)

Paul Kehoe


127. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Health if there are circumstances in which a refund can be sought by persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23050/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Nursing Homes Support Scheme is a system of financial support for those in need of long-term nursing home care. Participants contribute to the cost of their care according to their means while the State pays the balance of the cost. The Scheme aims to ensure that long-term nursing home care is accessible and affordable for everyone and that people are cared for in the most appropriate settings.

The Department of Health agree a set level of funding for the NHSS with the HSE each year having regard for the demand for the Scheme and the overall fiscal position. The 2019 budget for NHSS is €985.8m. In order to manage the demand for the Scheme over a 12 month period, the HSE has a target of maintaining the wait time for funding approval at no more than 4 weeks. This target has consistently been achieved since April 2015 and it is a significant reduction from the October 2014 wait time of 15 weeks. The target of 4 weeks for approval of funding remains a commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government. State support can only be paid once a financial assessment has been completed and authorised.

The National Guidelines for the Standardised Implementation of the NHSS provide that State Support and the Nursing Home Loan should be paid in respect of qualified applicants from either the date that the application is approved, or date of admission to the nursing home whichever is the later. Therefore in the case where an applicant is already residing in a nursing home when they apply for State support through NHSS this support will be paid from the date that the application is approved and cannot be backdated to the admission date.

This provision enables the HSE to manage the budget and commitments under the Scheme over a 12 month period, ensuring that long-term residential care remains accessible and affordable for those that require it.