FINE Gael’s Deputy Kieran O’Donnell has condemned as “shocking” that €74 million set aside for health spending this year is outstanding as consultants haven’t signed off on paperwork to clear monies owed to the HSE by insurers.
It emerged last month that the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Dooradoyle, has the worst problem in the country, with over €11 million owed by insurers as documentation awaits action by consultants. This is almost twice the amount owed at Galway University Hospital, which has the second highest value of claims.
“The HSE is owed €74 million from private health insurers for treating private patients in public hospitals. Yet, because the appropriate forms haven’t been signed off by consultants, the HSE can’t collect the €74 million involved,” said Deputy O’Donnell, pictured.
“This money is sticking out like a sore thumb, and it is nothing short of shocking that it hasn’t been collected up to now. Some €8 million of this is outstanding for more than one year. The HSE, the consultants and the health insurers now need to play their part in recouping this money. This is taxpayers’ money and it is unacceptable that these monies are being denied to the state as a result of needless administrative delays.”
Deputy O’Donnell was speaking after questioning HSE boss Tony O’Brien on the matter at the Public Accounts Committee, of which the Limerick TD is vice-chair.
Mr O’Brien had told the committee the HSE hoped to have consultants sign off on outstanding sums by November 19. “It must be a top priority for these forms to be filled in as quickly as possible by the consultants so it can be used for its intended purpose. The HSE must then work to accelerate the payment of the money to it by the health insurers, so that the benefit can be passed on to health service users as soon as possible,” said Deputy O’Donnell.