Patients attending Cork hospital to face charges of up to €275 for 'Covid-19 safety measures'; hospital said it had 'no alternative'

Patients attending Cork hospital to face charges of up to €275 for 'Covid-19 safety measures'; hospital said it had 'no alternative'
The Mater Private, Cork.

PATIENTS attending the Mater Private Hospital in Cork will face additional charges of up to €275 for “Covid-19 safety measures”, with the hospital saying it has “no alternative” but to introduce the charge.

The Mater Private Healthcare Group says it is introducing the new charges to help cover the additional costs of measures to protect patients and staff as part of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic including the introduction of a Covid-19 screening service.

All patients attending the hospital will have to undergo the screening service, and the hospital group said that in some cases some patients will have to undergo further testing.

The Group has also reconfigured facilities to minimise unnecessary contact with other patients while attending appointments.

In a statement issued to The Echo, the hospital group said that these additional measures had come at “considerable cost to the hospital” including because of reduced capacity, additional cleaning measures and purchase of PPE.

The Mater Private Healthcare Group said it believed that these costs should be absorbed by the Health Insurers as part of Insured Patients Policies, and in the absence of an agreement on reimbursement costs from the Health Insurance providers, it had “no alternative other than to charge their members when they present for treatment at a Mater Private Hospital.” 

The hospital group confirmed that a fee of €275 for an inpatient day procedure, and €75 for a diagnostics outpatient test is being introduced, and that these fees are charged on an individual basis, and not an attendance basis “therefore, no patient will be charged more than once for these procedures during a cycle of care”.

It said that where an insurer subsequently provides coverage for Covid-19 testing, these fees will be reimbursed to patients fully.

“We appreciate that the cost will vary across the hospital sector depending on the complexity of care across the system. To that end we continue to engage with insurers to actively advocate on behalf of patients,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, the Private Hospitals Association, which represents the independently-funded hospital sector in Ireland has said that it believed the costs associated the introduction of important and necessary additional patient safety measures to halt the spread of Covid-19 should be absorbed by insurers.

“The Private Hospitals Association consider that any additional costs that may be incurred by individual private patients as a result of these new measures, should in principle be absorbed by the health insurers, and its members are currently in discussion with the respective insurers to that end,” it said.

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