Written answers

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Photo of Peadar TóibínPeadar Tóibín (Meath West, Aontú)
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739. To ask the Minister for Health if the HSE or individual hospitals have engaged private companies for the purpose of debt collection from patients or former patients who have failed to pay their hospital bills; and if so, the number of companies that have been engaged; the cost of the contracts; and the name of the companies. [31869/22]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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Patient charges are a key element of the overall funding envelope of the Irish health system and are taken into account when agreeing the Annual Estimates and the subsequent preparation of the HSE’s annual National Service Plan.  

These charges typically include:

Out-patient charges;

In-patient charges; and

Long-term stay charges.

Certain cohorts of people may be exempt from some or all of these charges.

In addition, patients who opt for private in-patient services in public hospitals are liable for a range of private in-patient charges. There are no exemptions from these charges.

Non collection of debts owed directly impacts on the affordability of services provided by the Health Service Executive in any year. It is therefore incumbent on the HSE to take all reasonable steps to pursue amounts owed for services delivered. Debt collection agencies are engaged when normal billing arrangements have been unsuccessful.

The operational detail of this question is a matter for the HSE and I have asked them to respond to you directly in relation to that detail.

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