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Medical Cards

Doctors deny claiming fees for dead patients

GPs have blamed the HSE, but the organisation says the issue has been addressed.

THE IRISH MEDICAL Organisation (IMO) has strongly rejected suggestions GPs are incorrectly claiming fees for dead patients.

Dr Ray Walley, Chairman of the GP Committee of the IMO, criticised weekend media reports on the issue as “misleading in the extreme”.

Walley said GPs don’t claim payments for medical card patients, rather they “receive payments based on lists, which the HSE is charged with maintaining”.

“It is extraordinary that [the HSE] now seems to suggest that GPs know more about this issue than they do themselves as the legal authority on the matter.”

In light of the persistent failure of the HSE to maintain accurate lists, GPs agreed to refund payments made in respect of deceased patients. In this way GPs actually help the state recover money that its inefficient systems have given away.

On Sunday, the Mirror reported that doctors have given back more than €3 million paid in respect of dead patients, but the HSE is still owed €2 million.

Legacy issues

A spokesperson for the HSE said the organisation has “an effective process in operation for managing death notifications and all associated GP capitation payments”.

The HSE receives weekly notifications from the Death Events Publication Service (DEPS) and updates the medical card register accordingly. The eligibility associated with deceased persons is rescinded ahead of the capitation payment process. Any overpayments are automatically recouped from the date of death to the date of their eligibility being removed.

“GPs are not paid capitation for deceased patients and there are no overpayments to be recouped from GPs by the HSE on that basis.”

This matter was raised at a Public Accounts Committee in 2012, and the HSE said “legacy issues” have been dealt with.

Read: Ireland is overworking its junior doctors – and could face huge fines because of it

Read: 90% of Irish medical students considering emigration after they qualify

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