HSE nursing homes in Co Leitrim are being paid 47% more to provide care per person than their private and voluntary counterparts, new figures published by the HSE reveal.
The claim was made by Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) following the recent publication by the HSE of fees payable to its nursing homes under the Fair Deal scheme.
Private and voluntary nursing homes are required to ‘negotiate’ the fees payable to them under the Fair Deal scheme with the NTPF, acting on behalf of the State. However, the fees payable to HSE nursing homes are not subject to negotiation or oversight, with the HSE being the budget-holder and payee.
The published fees inform the average fee payable to the four HSE nursing homes in Co Leitrim is €1,296 per person, per week at February 2018.
The average fee payable per person to the two private and voluntary nursing homes operating within the county, as of 14th February 2018, is €880 per person, per week.
This reveals a staggering 47% differential in the average fees payable in respect of residents between HSE nursing homes in County Leitrim and private and voluntary counterparts.
Nationally, HSE nursing home fees are paid an average 60% above those payable in respect of residents in private and voluntary nursing homes. Over the 16-month period since the HSE fees were last published, the fees payable within HSE nursing homes increased by an average 11%. Over the corresponding period, the average fees in private and voluntary nursing homes increased by 3.9%. The average fee differential between HSE and private / voluntary nursing homes was 53% in 2016, so the chasm has grown over the 16-month period.
Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO said: “Publication by the HSE of its fees highlights the glaring discrimination perpetuated by the State in nursing home care. It is unacceptable private and voluntary nursing homes, which are the lead providers of nursing home care, are forced to provide care for fees that are a fraction of those payable to HSE counterparts. The discrepancy cannot continue to be justified by the State, which continues to turn a blind eye to the huge chasm that exists nationally and within individual counties.
“The HSE is subject to no negotiation for its fees or independent oversight. We are calling upon the Public Accounts Committee to fulfil a commitment it has previously undertaken to investigate the cost of care in HSE nursing homes. Furthermore, it is imperative the Government finally publishes the review of the Fair Deal pricing mechanism that was scheduled for completion and publication in June 2017."
“Private and voluntary nursing homes provide high dependency care but are having their sustainability threatened by the State’s failure to recognise the true cost of nursing home care. Independent analyses are critical of Fair Deal’s non-recognition of the reality of costs incurred by providers to provide nursing home care and state providing care through the present funding model is unsustainable. In the interest of people requiring nursing home care, the discriminatory practice must cease to exist. Publication of the review of the Fair Deal pricing mechanism will propel required discussion regarding implementation of a fit-for-purpose funding model to meet the care needs of people require nursing home care.”