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Insurance crisis presenting for nursing homes underlines urgent need for Fair Deal reform

Thursday January 16, 2020

16th January 2020: Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO states: “The withdrawal from the insurance market of an underwriter presents a crisis for funding of nursing home care. This will likely lead to unsustainable increases in premiums and these will have a very significant impact upon the ever increasing cost-base for nursing homes. Previous analysis undertaken within our sector informs insurance premiums increased by 136% over the period 2010 to 2016.

“The nursing home sector operates within a unique funding structure. The overwhelming majority of residents in nursing home care are supported by the Fair Deal scheme. This means each individual nursing home nursing home is effectively entirely dependent upon the scheme operated by the State for its survival. HIQA has reported the past two years nursing homes are closing because Fair Deal fees are not recognising costs being incurred by smaller nursing homes in particular to provide nursing home care.

“Liberty’s departure from the market will undoubtedly negatively impact premiums. The Government needs to grasp the financial crisis presenting for nursing home care. The Government took urgent action in December to support the childcare sector cope with escalating insurance costs and the precedent has been set.

“The review of the Fair Deal pricing mechanism, fundamental to how the scheme operates and the viability of nursing homes, has never been published and now stands over two years past the date for completion set by then Minister for Health Leo Varadkar.  Transparency needs to be brought to Fair Deal and the setting of fees for nursing home care. Today’s developments on insurance emphasise the critical importance of our sector’s ask of all political parties. We are calling on them to commit to the introduction of an independent appeals process for nursing home providers under Fair Deal. Providing recourse to a nursing home provider that has exhausted the NTPF fee setting process can provide required transparency and fairness in care of the older person. It is critical for our older people that this requirement becomes a priority.

“As a member of the Alliance for Insurance Reform, we are well aware of the slow pace of insurance reform.  Real reforms needs to happen very quickly now if serious damage to society is to be avoided.”

Tadhg Daly is available for further interview. For further information and media requests contact Michael McGlynn, NHI Communications & Research Executive at 01 4699806 or 087 9082970.

Note for Editor

General Election 2020 – Nursing Homes Ireland’s proposed amendment to the Nursing Home Support Scheme Act 2009

“Where the Minister’s Designate and the person carrying on the business of a nursing home fail to reach an agreement of the type referred to of the definition of “approved nursing home”, either party may seek, not earlier than 6 weeks after the date on which negotiations commenced, an independent and binding assessment of the matter to be determined by a member of a panel of arbitrators established by the Chairman of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Irish Branch who shall be requested to make such appointment within a period of ten (10) days of such request. The arbitrator so appointed shall be requested to give his determination of the matter so referred to him within a period of thirty (30) days of his appointment. In such case, any administrative fee to be determined by the Chairman of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Irish Branch shall be discharged jointly and in equal proportions by both parties”