Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Questions (67)

Mattie McGrath


67. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health the status of reforms of the nursing homes support scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48618/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The proposed policy change to the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS), to cap contributions based on farm and business assets at 3 years where a family successor commits to working the productive asset, has been approved by Government. The Department developed draft Heads of Bill while considering a number of complex ancillary policy and operational matters which may need to be addressed in the proposed legislation.

The General Scheme of Bill for the NHSS was approved by Government on 11 June 2019 and subsequently published. The changes to the Scheme will come into effect as soon as the legislative process is successfully complete. The Department will progress this as quickly as possible, however, the timeline for completion of the legislation will also depend on how it passes through the Houses. The General Scheme was sent to the relevant Joint Committee and the Department participated in pre-legislative scrutiny on 13 November 2019. The Department looks forward to the report of the Committee following from this engagement. In the meantime, engagements with the Office of the Attorney General will continue with a view to progressing the legislative development process.

It is intended that this proposed policy change, the 3 year cap, will be extended to eligible existing participants in long term residential care so that they are not disadvantaged, but that there would be no retrospective recoupment of contributions for those who have paid contributions over and above the 3 year period.