Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Department of Health and Children
Nursing Home Inspections
Question 476: To ask the Minister for Health and Children the cost to the Health Information and Quality Authority to carry out nursing home inspections; if this cost is levied on the nursing homes and ultimately the nursing home residents; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38386/09]
Áine Brady (Minister of State with special responsibility for Older People and Health Promotion, Department of Health and Children; Minister of State, Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government; Minister of State, Department of Social and Family Affairs; Kildare North, Fianna Fail)
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The Health Information and Quality Authority has been allocated €13.571million from my Department's vote in 2009 and the costs of operating the nursing home registration and inspection regime were taken into account when this allocation was decided.
The estimated fee income which will arise from the nursing home registration and inspection regime in a full year is €4.6 million and it was intended that this income would provide the Authority with sufficient funds overall to enable commencement of the nursing home inspectorate function on 1 July 2009.
The Deputy will be aware that it was decided that the new registration and inspection regime would mainly be self-financing. In this regard the 2007 Act provides for the following fees: Applications for registration or renewal of registration under Section 48, this section states that the applicant shall include with the application the prescribed application fee; an annual fee payable by the registered provider under Section 99; a fee for variation or removal of any conditions of the registration under Section 52; a registered provider making an application under this section must include the fee with their application.
Following analysis of the types of centres, numbers of places, etc. it was decided to set a registration fee of €500, payable every 3 years by each nursing home together with an annual fee of €190 per place in each registered centre. It is estimated that the fee will represent an average weekly cost of €3.73 per registered place. The fees are payable by the registered provider (or in the case of applications for registration by the applicant, who for existing designated centres would normally be the registered provider). These fees are not due or payable by the resident or their family.
The Deputy may be aware that article 28 of the Health Act 2007 (Care and Welfare of Residents in Designated Centres for Older People) Regulations 2009 states that
"(1) The registered provider shall agree a contract with the resident within one month of the admission of that resident to the designated centre.
(2) Such contract shall deal with the care and welfare of the resident in the designated centre and shall include details of the services to be provided for that resident and the fees to be charged."
Therefore, only those fees, including any agreed increases, set out in the contract should be charged by the registered provider to the resident.
HIQA commenced the new system of registration and inspection on July 1st, 2009. The Authority's inspection process comprises three parts: pre-assessment, the inspection visit and report completion including a process of fact-checking and verification. Since July 1, the Authority has commenced 106 inspections. Of these, 59 were announced and 47 were unannounced visits. The average duration of inspection visits to date has been two days. Of the inspection processes commenced, 9 have reached conclusion with the publication of reports along with the publication of one additional inspection report. The remaining reports will be published shortly.