Taoiseach Blindsided on HSE Plans to Slash Cataract Op Reimbursements – Healy Rae

Taoiseach Simon Harris and Michael Healy Rae inset against a photograph of patients from Kerry preparing to board their bus home from the Cathedral Eye Clinic in Belfast which Deputy Michael Healy Rae has been facilitating for the past six years. Now the HSE is planning to slash patients’ reimbursements – an issue on which Deputy Healy Rae is set to pursue with Taoiseach Harris in Dáil Éireann.

I was asked if I was aware of ‘the scandal that the HSE plans to slash, by well over half, its input to the expenses incurred by people who travel to Belfast for cataract treatment – there should be murder over it,’ she said before I had a chance to say that I wasn’t aware of the plans.

And this morning an email from Michael Healy Rae, TD puts the HSE cuts in context and outlines the ‘out of pocket’ impact the planned cuts would have on those forced to travel because of the delay in accessing service in the Republic of Ireland.

On a Bus to Belfast

“If you’re on a public waiting list, in Kerry for example, you could be waiting for four years whereas I can get you on a bus to Belfast next week and you’re looked after there and then and you’re reimbursed two thirds of the overall costs of accommodation and surgery by the HSE,” said the Kerry TD.

Deputy Healy Rae said he is appalled at the HSE plans to reduce the amount of reimbursement to a person who travels to Belfast to have a cataract removed.

Cross Border Directive

“I have been taking people to Belfast for several years now where they restored the sight of so many people through a scheme known as the Cross Border Directive.

“Under this scheme you paid for the procedure to be done yourself and the HSE reimbursed you €1,912 of the cost of the surgery – but from July 1st the reimbursement figure is being cut to €863 which is a significant decrease,” said Deputy Healy Rae.

Letting People Go Blind

“So our current Government and current Minister for Health are happy to let our people go blind instead of leaving the reimbursement the same as it always was the past few years

“I raised this with the Taoiseach in the Dail on Wednesday and he informed me he was not aware of the situation which shows how out of touch he is with what is happening in the Department of Health,” he said.

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