Complaint to Ombudsman over hospital overcharging

A man has complained to the Ombudsman after he was charged €1,500 for a number of hospital stays, despite a cap of €750 on such charges at the time.

Two hospitals were involved but although they have not been identified, Ocean FM News understands they are both in the north west.

The man, who suffers from a severe kidney condition, was admitted to the two different hospitals  over 12 months, spending a total of 30 nights in hospital.

At the time there was a €75 per day charge for a hospital stay. The charge is now €80 per day.

However, this charge was capped at €750 in any 12 month period, regardless of how many public hospitals a patient is admitted to, or the condition requiring treatment.

When the Ombudsman investigated the complaint, he was initially told by the HSE that the 12 month cap was in respect of each hospital and, therefore, the man was correctly charged €1,500.

However, when the Ombudsman brought the relevant legislation to the HSE’s attention, it agreed to refund the excess charge to the man.

The man spent nine nights in the first hospital and was correctly charged €675.

He then had to spend 20 nights in a second hospital.

The second hospital charged him the capped fee of €750, but did not take account of the €675 the man had already paid the first hospital.

The Ombudsman’s office says there is no integrated payment system for managing hospital charges and the Ombudsman was concerned that other patients could be similarly affected in the future.

The Ombudsman is to review the actions taken by the HSE in the coming months.