Patients waiting 70 days for reimbursement under Cross-Border Directive

Patients waiting 70 days for reimbursement under Cross-Border Directive
A bus travelling from Cork and Kerry to Kingsbridge, Belfast in April for cataract surgery patients under the cross-border directive. Pic; Larry Cummins

Patients who receive treatment under the Cross Border Directive are waiting 70 days to be reimbursed, it has been revealed.

The CBD allows patients in Ireland to access treatment and operations in the UK and Northern Ireland, and be reimbursed by the HSE.

Information obtained by Fianna Fail show that the turnaround time for payments has risen from 30 days to 70 days.

Cork South Central TD Michael McGrath (FF) called on the Health Minister to allocate additional resources to reduce huge waiting times for reimbursement for CBD patients.

Deputy McGrath said there are 4,000 applications still being processed.

“The current situation whereby people are being forced to travel to Northern Ireland or other EU countries for routine procedures because the waiting lists in our own health service are so long is bad enough, but the fact that these patients are now seeing their reimbursements delayed by over two months is simply unacceptable,” he explained.

“The Cross-Border Directive offers people languishing on waiting lists an opportunity to avail of health services in another European country.

“They can then recoup costs from the HSE for the amount of that treatment in Ireland, or the cost of the treatment abroad, if that is less,” added Deputy McGrath.

“The scheme has rapidly increased in popularity in recent years as waiting lists have become unbearably long.

“However, there are now serious issues with the length of time people are having to wait to be reimbursed after paying for their procedure.

“This is not only frustrating for them but also financially crippling.” Deputy McGrath claimed that the CBD team has made a number of submissions to the Department of Health seeking additional resources to cope with the sheer amount of applications they are receiving.

“The Minister however, has not yet saw fit to approve this despite this being a scheme which actively seeks to reduce waiting lists,” he said.

“The Minister must approve these additional resources so that reimbursements can be processed in a timely manner and so that the current delays can be cleared.”

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