Limerick medical card holders wrongly charged for blood tests

first_imgFacebook Previous articleLimerick men urged to mind their mental healthNext articleSisters, swing out to Limerick City Big Band Alan Jacqueshttp://www.limerickpost.ie Vanishing Ireland podcast documenting interviews with people over 70’s, looking for volunteers to share their stories Limerick Artist ‘Willzee’ releases new Music Video – “A Dream of Peace” Limerick Ladies National Football League opener to be streamed live WhatsApp Advertisement Linkedin NewsLocal NewsLimerick medical card holders wrongly charged for blood testsBy Alan Jacques – December 12, 2015 922 TAGSblood testsCllr Maurice QuinlivanHSElimerickmedical cardsSinn Fein center_img Cllr Maurice Quinlivanby Alan [email protected] up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up Cllr Maurice QuinlivanA NUMBER of medical card holders in Limerick are being charged for blood tests by their GPs despite the fact they are entitled to this free service as part of existing service contracts with the HSE.People have contacted Sinn Féin General Election candidate for Limerick City, Cllr Maurice Quinlivan, in the last couple of weeks to express their confusion at being charged despite being eligible for free general medical services.Describing the charge as “absolutely unacceptable”, Cllr Quinlivan has advised those who had been charged that they are entitled to a full refund from the HSE.“A number of medical card holders have made contact with me to seek clarification and advice after being charged for blood tests. This is absolutely unacceptable as blood tests are free of charge to medical card holders as part of existing service contracts with the HSE and under the 1970 Health Act,” he explained.“I am quite shocked that this has been happening as I am aware that the HSE has written to contract holders a few times to clarify that the position with regards to phlebotomy services. That being said, I have also heard stories of posters being put up in some GP surgeries notifying all medical card patients that they will be charged €15 for blood tests from January 1 next.”Cllr Quinlivan insists that it is extremely important that the HSE communicates the position regarding provision of such services to contract holders.“This may have to be done more forcefully or with more clarity as it is clear that the message is not getting through in some cases. It has to be made very clear to all GPs that this not allowable or acceptable.“My foremost concern is for the welfare of medical card holder who are obviously not in a position to absorb the cost of such payments. Our GPs are a vital part of our communities. The vast majority have a very good understanding of their contractual obligations. However, it is clear that some, whatever the reasons may be, are not sticking to the terms of their contracts”, Cllr Quinlivan concluded.In response, the HSE told the Limerick Post that it has been made aware of instances where GPs have charged General Medical Services (GMS) patients inappropriately for phlebotomy (drawing blood) services. They have written to GP contract holders and clarified the position in relation to charging for phlebotomy.“A GP is expected to provide patients who hold a medical card or GP visit card with all proper and necessary treatment of a kind generally undertaken by a GP and not requiring special skill or experience of a degree or kind which GPs cannot reasonably be expected to possess.“A medical practitioner should not charge for these services or for travelling or for other expenses, premises, equipment or instruments in making the services available. In circumstances where the taking of blood is necessary, the GP may not charge that patient if they are eligible for free GMS services”.Medical card patients who feel they have been inappropriately charged for phlebotomy services can email [email protected] RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Email Twitter Predictions on the future of learning discussed at Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival Limerick’s National Camogie League double header to be streamed live WATCH: “Everyone is fighting so hard to get on” – Pat Ryan on competitive camogie squads Printlast_img read more