first_imgTechPost | Episode 9 | Pay with Google, WAZE – the new Google Maps? and Speak don’t Type! Linkedin TAGShealthLimerick City and CountyNews NewsHealthDebt agents to collect €34 million patients’ billBy Bernie English – October 19, 2018 4763 Facebook Previous articleMunster name side to face Gloucester in Champions CupNext articleBeyond the neon runes Bernie Englishhttp://www.limerickpost.ieBernie English has been working as a journalist in national and local media for more than thirty years. She worked as a staff journalist with the Irish Press and Evening Press before moving to Clare. She has worked as a freelance for all of the national newspaper titles and a staff journalist in Limerick, helping to launch the Limerick edition of The Evening Echo. Bernie was involved in the launch of The Clare People where she was responsible for business and industry news. WhatsApp RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Advertisement UNIVERSITY Hospital Limerick was owed €34.6 million in unpaid patients’ bills in May of this year. But to collect it, the HSE has brought in paid private debt collectors.The details were supplied on foot of a Freedom of Information request from the Limerick Post.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up The reply from the UHL Freedom of Information office stated that up to May 31 of this year, there is €34.6 million in outstanding bills owed to the hospital by patients.The answer stated “The figure spent on hiring private debt collectors to pursue service users unpaid debts in 2018 and paid up to May 31 is €15,554.But there was an about-turn on some of the information contained in the FOI reply, following requests for a comment on the practice from the UHL press office.The original reply stated that as well as supplying debt collectors with details of name, address and phone number of the patients who owe money, the hospital also passed along contact details of the patients’ next of kin.Subsequently, the Freedom of Information decision maker contacted the Limerick Post to state that the FOI answer was “incorrect” in stating that next-of-kin details are supplied for the purposes of collecting money.“Next of kin information of service users is not made available to debt collectors. This was an error. My apologies for any inconvenience caused,” the FOI officer said in the second communication.The original Freedom of Information request was prompted by reports from an individual in another county who complained that his next of kin had received a call from a Dublin hospital about his unpaid in-patient bill.The request was to establish whether UL Hospitals Group has such a policy in relation to recovered outstanding bills.Contact details for parents or guardians are made available for the purpose of pursuing unpaid bills if the patient is under 18 years of age.When asked about the national protocol for debt collection, the HSE responded to the Limerick Post by saying:“Patients who attend at public hospitals are, depending on their eligibility, and subject to certain exemptions, liable to Statutory charges. These are levied under the provisions of the 1970 Health act.“The charges are €100 for an Emergency Department attendance and €80 for an overnight stay, the latter charge is capped at €800 in any 12 month period.“These charges are separate from the private patient charges which are predominately collected via the Health insurance companies.“The HSE has a statutory obligation to charge and collect these charges.  Hospitals have the discretion to operate payment plans where appropriate.“There are facilities for patients to pay directly, when the patient attends the emergency department.“Upon discharge, the patient receives an invoice and in some cases, a reminder, the follow-up for payment can then be forwarded to specialist debt management services, as outlined in the National Financial Regulation (NFR) 25.“These contracts, which are based on a national multi supplier framework agreement, are managed locally at individual hospital level and statistics are not held centrally on the collection rates.”by Bernie English and Cian [email protected]center_img Local backlash over Aer Lingus threat Twitter Limerick on Covid watch list Housing 37 Compulsory Purchase Orders issued as council takes action on derelict sites Print Shannon Airport braced for a devastating blow Limerick Post Show | Careers & Health Sciences Event for TY Students Emaillast_img

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