CASH-strapped Beaumont Hospital is owed over €8 million by private health insurance companies, a debt that has been accrued since 2009.
The hospital, which according to the HSE’s August 2012 Performance Report has an overspend of e20 million, is owed a total of €8,364,461 by health insurance companies.
Minister for Health James Reilly made the shocking revelation in response to a Dail question put forward by Deputy Tommy Broughan (Lab), who asked why and how the hospital could afford to let such a debt build up over the last three years.
“Given the current €130 million programme of cutbacks being imposed on Beaumont and other hospitals, it is simply unacceptable that Beaumont is still waiting for more than e8 million from private health insurance companies,” the Dublin North East TD stated.
“It is absolutely outrageous that this money, which is so desperately needed, hasn’t been recouped.
“If a member of the public incurred a bill I have no doubt that a hospital would be prepared to go to great lengths to collect the money owed to it so you’d have to wonder why the hospital doesn’t adopt the same hard line with health insurance companies.”
In response to Deputy Broughan’s question, Minister Reilly said the Department of Health had been working with the main health insurers to agree in principle a system of improved cash-flow and accelerated payments, which will provide a once-off cash flow benefit in 2012 in the region of €125 million for the health system.
“The detailed arrangements for the accelerated payments are being finalised with the health insurers at present,” Minister Reilly stated.
“The HSE is continuing a drive to reduce the time taken to submit claims to private health insurance companies.
“A key element in this drive includes the implementation of an electronic claims management system in its hospitals.”
He added: “This system will address the deficiencies of the paper-based process and will also ensure that standardised work practices are implemented across hospitals.”