Families seek nursing home fee repayments


A NUMBER of medical card holders have brought High Court actions seeking repayment of nursing home fees for which they were allegedly incorrectly charged before a new law was brought in four years ago.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan yesterday began hearing a preliminary application by two families affected by the charging scheme before it was regularised by a new law in 2006.

The families claim they were forced to pay for private sector nursing home beds for their mothers as a result of the alleged failure of the State to provide them with public beds they were allegedly entitled to as medical card holders. The claims are denied.

In a test case, one family has claimed they had to pay €383,000 in excess of what they should have had to provide for their 92-year-old mother who was cared for in nursing homes since 1998 and had held a medical card for 30 years. Another family claims it paid excessive charges of €40,000 for their mother who died later.

The families are seeking discovery of documents against the health boards (now HSE), the Minister for Health, and the State in relation to the alleged overcharging. The hearing continues.