Medical Card Delays.

HSE plans to end medical card delays by April

Updated: 22:07, Friday, 2 March 2012

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children has visited the
HSE’s medical card centre in Finglas, Dublin.

The Health Service Executive has said that it hopes to clear a backlog
of 31,456 medical card applications by the end of April.

The commitment follows a two-hour visit by the Joint Oireachtas
Committee on Health and Children to the HSE’s central processing
office in Finglas in Dublin.

The HSE said that people waiting to get their card renewed can use
their old cards while waiting.

It also said that GPs can now prolong the entitlement of vulnerable
medical card holders who are going through the renewal process.

Terminally ill patients are also automatically entitled to a medical
card, irrespective of their means.

Today’s visit follows severe criticism over delays in processing
applications, renewals and claims that some documents submitted by
patients have been lost.

Committee chairman Jerry Buttimer said that some people have waited up
to nine months for their medical card.

The group wanted to see the processing system at first-hand.

Director of the HSE Primary Care Reimbursement Service Paddy Burke
welcomed the committee’s visit.

Mr Burke said: “The visit allowed an opportunity to highlight the
steps we are now taking to further streamline the process for

The HSE recently deployed an extra 20 staff to the office, which now
has 150 staff.

Minister of State Roisin Shorthall, who has responsibility for the
area, said last week that people waiting to get their card renewed can
use their old cards while waiting.

The centralised processing system was introduced last year by the HSE
to make the system more efficient.

Comment: This is farcical. Shortall sya that people can use
out-of-date medical cards while waiting for renewal. Does that mean
that the pharmacists will be reimbursed for dispensing drugs to
out-of-date cards? Does this mean that GP capitation payments will be
made regarding out-of-date medial card patients? What will happen to
these payments if the renewal is refused? Any comment Shortall?