Thursday, 8 October 2015
Department of Health
National Treatment Purchase Fund
145. To ask the Minister for Health the reason the National Treatment Purchase Fund nursing home bed rates are set at such different levels from location to location, for example the single bed occupancy rate varies from €715 to €1325. [34997/15]
The legislation underpinning the Nursing Homes Support Scheme requires each private nursing home to negotiate and agree a price for long-term residential care services with the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) should they wish to be an approved nursing home for the purposes of the Scheme.
The NTPF is independent in the performance of this function and, in carrying it out, it must ensure value for money for both the individual and the State. It negotiates with each nursing home individually and may examine the records and accounts of nursing homes as part of the process. This is to ensure that the State obtains the best value for each individual in a nursing home and to comply with competition law.
In negotiating with nursing homes, the NTPF has regard to:
- costs reasonably and prudently incurred by the nursing home and evidence of value for money;
- price(s) previously charged,
- local market price, and
- budgetary constraints and the obligation on the State to use available resources in the most beneficial, effective and efficient manner to improve, promote and protect the health and welfare of the public.
A Review of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme has just been completed. This Review examined inter aliathe overall cost of long-term residential care in public and private nursing homes and the current methods of negotiating and setting prices. Arising from the Review, further work will be undertaken by the NTPF to examine their current pricing arrangements with a view to ensuring adequate residential capacity for those with complex care needs, providing value and increasing transparency and to submit future pricing proposals to the Minister for Health within 18 months.
An Interdepartmental/Agency Working Group is currently being established to oversee the implementation of the administrative reforms contained in the Review, and to oversee the review of the current pricing arrangements. This Working Group is due to report to the Cabinet Committee on Health in June 2016.