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Patients still illegally billed for swine flu

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  • Patients still illegally billed for swine flu

    Patients still illegally billed for swine flu

    [Posted: Fri 04/12/2009 by Niall Hunter, Editor]

    Some patients presenting at hospitals for swine flu treatment are still being charged for their treatment, even though it is illegal for hospitals to impose charges on these patients.

    Some weeks ago, revealed that a patient in the midlands had been wrongly charged following treatment in his local hospital A&E for swine flu. The hospital later agreed to reimburse the charge to the patient.

    Under health regulations, hospital patients cannot be charged A&E inpatient or outpatient fees if they are being treated for an notifiable infectious disease, such as swine flu.

    However, Fine Gael Waterford Senator Paudie Coffey said yesterday said he had recently been alerted to a number of cases where people have shown up at their local hospital and were subsequently diagnosed with and treated for swine flu, but were illegally charged for their treatment.

    Mr Coffey said swine flu patients are, according to the rules, exempt from A&E, outpatient and inpatient charges.

    He said many patients may have paid this charge unwittingly due to administrative errors at hospitals and he called on the HSE to revise its hospital billing systems to ensure that no illegal charges are made, and for full reimbursement to be made where charges have been imposed in error.
    "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
    -Nelson Mandela