St Vincent’s hospital misled department, says Crown

Senator criticises hospital investigation into ‘fraudulent billing’ for drugs

Prof Crown said St Vincent’s gave inaccurate information to the Department of Health. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/Irish Times

Prof Crown said St Vincent’s gave inaccurate information to the Department of Health. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/Irish Times

 

Independent senator Prof John Crown has accused St Vincent’s private hospital of giving inaccurate information to the Department of Health on the billing of insurance companies for drugs.

Prof Crown, who is a consultant at the hospital, told the Seanad this afternoon he had a document which revealed that a statement made on behalf of the Department of Health before Christmas was based on faulty information provided to it. He believed it was “a sincere statement’’ and the department had been given the wrong information.

The statement had said that an independent inquiry had taken place into fraudulent billing by the administration of St Vincent’s private hospital to the VHI and other insurance companies for drugs which had been supplied free.

“As it happens, I have, here in my hand, the contract and the terms of reference for this allegedly independent investigation,’’ he added.

“The investigation, in fact, was initiated and commissioned by the management of St Vincent’s private hospital, the same institution which should have been under investigation.’’

Prof Crown said the hospital had also paid for the investigation and drew up the terms of reference drawn “Of its seven major headings, it could be argued that six had nothing whatsoever to do with the circumstances of the dishonest billing ,’’ he added.