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Friday 22 August 2014

Hospitals owed €74m in private patient bills

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

Published 27/11/2012 | 05:00

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Cash-strapped hospitals have still not been paid for €7m worth of treatment provided to private patients over a year ago.

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Another €11m is outstanding for seven to 12 months and €56m is due for work completed six months ago.

The breakdown of delays in getting the €74m due to hospitals was provided by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to the Dail Committee on Public Accounts.

The huge sums come at a time when Health Minister James Reilly is being forced to see a bailout in the form of a supplementary budget from the Department of Finance.

The HSE said the continuing delay in consultants signing off on health insurance forms is still the main reason for public hospitals not collecting the money due on time.

It said a detailed fortnightly review of the quantity and value of claims outstanding in each hospital is taking place with the regional directors of operations in the HSE.

Process

Consultants are to be required to fully complete and sign private insurance forms within 14 days of receipt of all the relevant papers and to co-operate with a system whereby a second doctor involved in the case can sign off.

The HSE has also awarded a contract for the phased rollout of an electronic claims management system to replace the paper-based process. It is live in six sites.

Irish Independent

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