Nursing home at centre of Stubbs row got €2.8m in State payments
THE private nursing home built by Health Minister James Reilly and other investors has received €2.8m in State payments to subsidise the weekly fees of its elderly residents, the Irish Independent has learned.
Greenhills nursing home in Carrick-on-Suir in Tipperary is one of more than 400 private homes in the Fair Deal scheme, which subsidises fees for eligible nursing home residents.
It means the Health Service Executive (HSE) pays part of the €820-a-week fee which Greenhills nursing home charges each resident.
The overall sum is in the higher end of payouts to private nursing homes taking part in the scheme, which started in late 2009 to ease the burden on older people who need that level of care and their families.
This is because of the nursing home's size and the fact that so many of the residents are living there permanently.
The home, which is is not operated by Dr Reilly, was built using lucrative tax breaks introduced in 1997 to increase the number of private nursing homes around the country.
It has accommodation for 54 residents and the majority of these are in long-term care and in receipt of the State subsidy towards their fees.
It means the home has a weekly fee income of over €44,200-a-week. A small number of other nursing homes in Tipperary charge a higher fee and others are less expensive.
The Irish Independent has also learned that the fee of €820 has not been reduced in the last year, even though funding for the Fair Deal scheme was plunged into crisis in June 2011.
At that stage, the Minister told the National Treatment Purchase Fund to renegotiate prices with private nursing homes. He wanted to see fees brought down to help keep the €1bn scheme afloat. However, the renegotiation proved difficult because many of the nursing homes were already tied into contracts, some of which do not expire until 2016.
Around 70 private nursing homes reduced their prices on foot of Minister Reilly's instruction.
Meanwhile, the latest figures showing the financial state of the HSE to be published today have more bad news for the minister, with the deficit increasing to €281m in May, up from €200m at the end of April.
The cost of drugs is a major driver in pushing up the deficit while €113m of the deficit is due to over-runs by hospitals which are having to treat rising numbers of patients.
The hospital with the highest deficit is Beaumont Hospital in Dublin (€11m) followed by Limerick Regional (€10m) and Galway University Hospital (€8.6m).
There are 695 beds closed while there are 342,665 people on outpatient waiting lists to see a specialist or have tests. This is the first time all hospitals have returned figures for outpatient lists. The longest waits are in the west of Ireland.