HSE flouts statutory requirements as it pays its nursing homes 66% more than private and voluntary counterparts, new figures revealMonday June 10, 2019
Growing disparity in fees payable for nursing home care to be presented to TDs & Senators tomorrow
10th June 2019: New figures published by the HSE reveal the average difference in fees payable under the Nursing Home Support Scheme (Fair Deal) between HSE and private / voluntary nursing homes is now a scandalous 66%. The HSE informs in figures published on 5th June 2019 the average fee payable to its nursing homes under Fair Deal was €1,615 per resident, per week. The average fee payable to private and voluntary nursing homes was €974. When the HSE last published its fees in March 2018 the average differential was 60% and previous to that in October 2016 the differential was 53%.
Tadhg Daly, Nursing Homes Ireland CEO states: “In the growing inequality of treatment between public and private and voluntary homes, the HSE is able to fund pay increases for 2019 to staff in its nursing homes from another budget outside of Fair Deal. This budget is not open to private and voluntary homes to do the same. The HSE has a statutory requirement to bring before the Houses of the Oireachtas the cost components for each of its nursing homes, including pay, under the Nursing Home Support Scheme. How can it now dictate that a core component of what its Fair Deal fee should entail – salaries – will not entirely be met from the scheme’s budget? From what budget are salary increases coming from? There are serious questions to ask regarding the legitimacy of what the HSE has presented before the Oireachtas and with regard to how its fees are applied under Fair Deal.”
Nursing Homes Ireland representatives will tomorrow, Tuesday 11th June, brief Oireachtas Members regarding the growth in inequality in utilisation of the Fair Deal budget. It is hosting its Oireachtas Open Day as part of its Nursing Homes Week 2019 events.
Mr Daly adds: “The HSE continues to utilise the €1 billion Fair Deal budget to increase payments to its nursing homes minus accountability. As the Fair Deal budget comes under huge strain and older people are threatened with the prospect of waiting weeks to avail of its financial support, the HSE uses the budget to pay its nursing homes fees that are double those payable to private and voluntary counterparts operating beside them. Late last year the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee expressed strong concerns regarding the value provided by the HSE in its utilisation of the Fair Deal budget. Yet instead of the gross disparity being addressed, State discrimination in the operation of the scheme is growing. Is it any wonder the HSE ignores the Department of Health recommendation in its review of Fair Deal that it be required to publish its fees at a minimum once a year.
“From what budget are pay increases being met? There are serious questions to be asked of the HSE with regard to how it is funding nursing home care in its homes. What other operational and administrative costs entailed within the published fees or funded from a budget separate to Fair Deal? At our Open Day, we will be impressing upon TDs and Senators the requirement for the Oireachtas to hold the HSE to account with regard to its utilisation of the Fair Deal budget and spend within its nursing homes. We will also be advancing imperative requirement for the Government to publish with immediacy the long-overdue review of the Fair Deal pricing mechanism. This is now two years past its date for completion.
“Arising from publication by the HSE of its costs, we will also be presenting to the Public Accounts Committee the gross inequality in utilisation of the Fair Deal budget, with the HSE increasing payments to its nursing homes minus oversight.”