Irish Medical Organisation

IMO rejects Department of Health “spin” about GPs claiming medical card fees for deceased patients

Monday 21st October 2013. The IMO has strongly criticised suggestions that GPs were claiming fees for medical cards after the relevant card holders had passed away. The claims were made over recent days by the Department of Health.

Speaking today Dr. Ray Walley, Chairman of the GP Committee, said that the “spin” from the Department of Health was an attempt by the Department to distract attention from its own mismanagement of the medical card system.

Dr. Walley made the following points:

• GPs don’t “claim” for medical card holders. Payments are made on the basis of patient lists maintained by the HSE and supplied to GPs.

• The HSE is responsible for the maintenance of the national register of deaths (along with births and marriages) in the country so it is extraordinary that they now seem to suggest that GPs know more about this issue than they do themselves as the legal authority on the matter.

• GPs have long ago agreed that any payments received in respect for a patient who has passed away are refunded to the HSE with the refund back-dated to the date of death.

• Despite the fact that the HSE operates the register of deaths, more than 50% of notifications to the HSE involving deceased patients came from GPs themselves.

Speaking today, Dr. Walley said that the notion that GPs were holding on to fees linked to deceased medical card holders was a smokescreen; “The budget has been a disaster from a health perspective. The Department are under scrutiny like never before and they have responded by trying to blame other partners in the health services and distract from the fact that they are taking medical cards away from those who need them – it is becoming increasingly apparent that the probity exercise is nothing more than a balancing figure to make the numbers add up on Budget day”


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