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Homecare subsidiary of VHI has posted loss of €500,000

Parent expects a significant improvement in coming years as the company develops

Emmet Oliver

Published 19/10/2011 | 05:00

VHI Homecare, the company which pays for VHI subscribers to be treated at home rather than hospital, has reported a loss of more than €500,000 in its first year of operation -- but said it expected a "significant improvement'' as the company develops.

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The subsidiary represents the first attempt in Ireland to replicate what happens in markets such as the US and Australia, where healthcare is also administered at home instead of in a hospital.

"The projections indicate that there will be a significant improvement in performance in 2011," said VHI Homecare.

"The key performance indicators are patient numbers and turnover."

It pointed out it had net assets of €117,274 already built up. The key risks to the firm are the make-up of the health insurance market in Ireland.

VHI Homecare is in a "start-up phase'' in an attempt to save the parent firm and the health service money by treating patients in their homes.

In its first year of operation it cost €1.8m to run the service, with expenditure going on drugs, staff, equipment and travel-related expenses. Turnover came in at €1.9m. There were 31 employees.

The VHI parent company has made an investment of €344,000 in the business during the period from August 31, 2009, to December 2010. It also provided a subordinated loan of €50,000 and has taken a three-year property lease costing €66,000.

Treatment

The Homecare subsidiary is hoping to help the VHI's bottom line by lowering costs.

Treatment of patients with acute conditions who would otherwise have required treatment in a hospital bed are the main customers. Emergency back-up is also offered.

Among the firm's directors is Professor Gerry McElvaney, who is leading the homecare idea.

People are able to become part of the programme after getting a referral from either a GP or a consultant.

Irish Independent

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