Date Published: 05-May-2011
BY CIARAN TIERNEY
Delays by consultants in ‘signing off’ claims against private health insurers are costing Galway city’s two public hospitals up to €12 million at a time they are under severe financial pressure.
It emerged this week that University Hospital Galway (UHG) and Merlin Park hospitals are owed €12m from private insurance companies such as the VHI, Aviva, and Bupa, much of it because highly-paid consultants are slow to process claims on behalf of the hospitals.
The Chairperson of the HSE Regional Forum (West), Cllr Padraig Conneely (FG), has described the delays in processing the claims as “financial negligence” and called for sanctions against specialists who are slow to do so within a specified time frame.
“At a time when Galway University Hospitals [UHG and Merlin Park] are financially cash starved, it is beyond belief that the West of Ireland’s major acute hospital is owed €12 million from private insurance companies,” said Cllr Conneely.
Cllr Conneely received confirmation of the money owed from the Health Service Executive (West) this week after raising the issue at a recent hospital committee meeting.
Given that on occasions dozens of patients have been forced to sleep on trolleys at UHG overnight, Cllr Conneely said it was astounding that some consultants were slow to process delays on behalf of the hospitals despite having no qualms about making claims on their own behalf.
“It is all down to the slowness of, and administrative problems with, some consultants,” Cllr Conneely told The Connacht Tribune. “Last year we had major financial problems and cut-backs across UHG. And yet there is €12 million available for work done if this problem could be sorted out between management and some consultants.
“Those consultants have the use of private beds in public hospitals and I think they are being very unfair. Their tardiness in ‘signing off’ on health insurance claims is leaving the hospitals with over-stretched finances.”
He called for sanctions to be introduced for consultants who fail to process claims on behalf of UHG within a specified time period such as 30 days. “It’s the public hospital system that’s paying the price, by being millions over budget,” he said.
Cllr Conneely said the consultants were able to treat private patients in Galway’s two public hospitals and management could then recoup costs from the health insurance companies.
But, before the hospital can make a claim, the consultants must ‘sign off’ on the relevant documentation. Cllr Conneely claimed that some consultants went weeks or even months without completing the documentation, despite making their own personal claims to the health insurers.
“There must be major changes in the way UHG does its business,” said Cllr Conneely. “Old working practices of consultants need to be urgently reviewed by management. This €12 million ‘black hole’ in the budget must be addressed.”
Galway ‘Park and Ride’ could become permanent
Date Published: 07-May-2013
A park ‘n’ ride scheme from Carnmore into Galway city could become a permanent service if there is public demand.
That’s according to the Chief Executive of Galway Chamber of Commerce, Michael Coyle.
The pilot scheme will begin at 7.20 next Monday morning, May 13th.
Motorists will be able to park cars at the airport carpark in Carnmore and avail of a bus transfer to Forster Street in the city.
Buses will depart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at offpeak times throughout the day, at a cost of 2 euro per journey.
Tuam awaits UK hay import as overnight rainfall adds to fodder crisis
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Tuam is now awaiting a third import of hay from the UK as overnight rainfall has increased pressure on farmers struggling to source fodder.
A total of ten loads are expected at Connacht Gold stores throughout the West with a load expected at the Airglooney outlet this evening or tomorrow.
Farmers throughout the county have been struggling to cope with the animal feed shortage and a below than normal grass growth due to unseasonal weather conditions.
Overnight rainfall in the Galway area has also added to the problem making ground conditions in many areas are quite poor.
Joe Waldron, Agricultual Advisor with Connacht Gold says farmers in short supply can contact the Airglooney outlet on 093 – 24101.
Transport Minister urges end to Bus Eireann strike action
Date Published: 12-May-2013
The Transport Minister is urging drivers at Bus Éireann to engage in talks with management, in an effort to bring their strike action to an end.
There were no Bus Éireann services operating out of Galway today as a result of nationwide strike action by staff affiliated with the national bus and rail union.
Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing to picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city this evening.
Drivers from other unions have decided not to cross the picket line and go into work today – causing the disruption to be even worse.
Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – cuts which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.
The majority of services nationwide are disrupted, and the union say strike action will continue until management are willing to go back into negotiations.
However, it’s not expected to affect school services next week.
Galway bay fm news understands that around 70 percent, or over 100 Galway bus Eireann drivers are affiliated with the NBRU.