Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Niamh Smyth, says problems with the Cross-Border Directive are a double insult for those who are forced to travel across the border for routine procedures which should be available here.
The Border Region TD was commenting as media reports reveal patients are waiting over 12 weeks for reimbursement.
“The lengthy backlogs, which are leading to reimbursement delays for patients needs to be tackled. I myself have been assisting constituents who have applications still being processed, taking months for what should be a reasonably quick turnaround.
“The Cross-Border Directive offers people languishing on waiting lists an opportunity to avail of some health services in another European country. They can then recoup costs from the HSE.
“The scheme has rapidly increased in popularity in recent years as waiting lists here have become unbearably long. Patients in Cavan and Monaghan have often travelled North to avail of health care services due to these long waiting lists.
“However, there are now serious issues with the length of time people have to wait to be reimbursed after paying for their procedure.
“The target for reimbursement is 30 days, however this is consistently missed. Many have taken out very short-term loans to pay for the treatment in the first place and are worried about re-paying their loan on time.
“It’s bad enough that people have to travel for routine procedures such as cataracts and hip replacements because the waiting lists in our own health service are so long, but the fact that these patients are now seeing their reimbursements delayed is a double insult.
“The Minister for Health needs to take up this issue with the HSE as a matter of urgency and ensure this backlog of claims is cleared in a reasonable timeframe,” concluded Deputy Smyth.