Question to the Minister of State at the Department of Health (Ms. Kathleen Lynch, TD)
For WRITTEN ANSWER on 18/12/2014
To ask the Minister for Health the additional flexibility that will be facilitated when determining a persons means and taking into account the burden of an illness under his proposed changes to the medical card application procedures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer T.D.
The Deputy will be aware of the recent publication of the reports of the Expert Panel on Medical Need and Medical Card Eligibility and the external review of the Medical Card Process.
In the light of the conclusions of the two reports, a range of actions are being, or will be, put into effect immediately or in the short-term by the HSE. One such action is the HSE’s putting arrangements in place for a more sensible processing of medical card applications involving significant medical conditions. These ensure greater interaction between the central office regarding the assessment of a person’s eligibility and the local health office regarding the person’s medical condition and the services that they may require. Another action to be progressed in the short term is the development of a single, integrated process for people to apply for a medical card, a GP visit card, the Long-Term Illness scheme and the Drugs Payment Scheme. In addition, a clinical advisory group will shortly be established by the HSE to develop guidance on assessing applications involving significant medical conditions so as to take account of the burden involved and the needs arising from the condition and to ensure that appropriate services are provided to people who need them. This guidance will be drawn up by this group over the coming months.