Friday 17 August 2018

New Fair Deal rules to stop homes cherry-picking residents

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

The Government is considering changes to the Fair Deal scheme to prevent private nursing homes from cherry- picking residents based on their health condition and level of dependency.

The new system would see three different rates paid to nursing homes based on a patient's health needs.

Currently, nursing homes are paid a flat rate for all residents, irrespective of their health condition.

However, there are concerns in Government that this has led to some private nursing homes choosing residents who are in the least need of care as it costs less to accommodate them. The new system would see nursing homes receiving increased funding for taking in older people who need round-the-clock care from health professionals. The current flat rate per resident is around €1,100, depending on the deal agreed between individual nursing homes and the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF).

Under the new scheme, nursing homes would be incentivised to take in more dependent residents, with increased rates which could be as high as €1,400 per patient.

Minister for Older People Jim Daly has asked the HSE to examine the proposal but changes are not expected to be implemented in the forthcoming Budget.

Last week it emerged farmers are set to save thousands of euro in nursing home fees under a Budget deal that will protect their farm and business assets from contributions to the Fair Deal scheme.

The Government is planing to introduce a three-year cap on contributions from farms and businesses.

This will significantly reduce the financial burden facing elderly people and their loved ones when they become residents in nursing homes.

Currently, families pay a 7.5pc annual contribution on their principal residence for three years. However, the three-year cap does not apply to farmland or business premises.

Sunday Independent

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