HSE criticised over Public Dental Service

Posted in Articles by saraburke on October 27, 2009

THE HEALTH Service Executive (HSE) has been severely criticised for its failure to manage its own public dental service that provides free dental care for children, people with disabilities and older people in care. The criticisms are contained in a new report on the service. The Public Dental Service (PDS) has a budget of €60 million for 2009 and services are provided by 200 dentists, working as HSE employees.

The Department of Health appointed Dr Paul Batchelor, a London-based oral care consultant to write an Analysis and Evaluation of the Public Dental Service of the Health Service Executive , a copy of which has been seen by The Irish Times .

The evaluation report found “little evidence among senior levels of the HSE of a serious engagement to understand the operation of the PDS with a view to actively managing that part of the organisation, providing encouragement and knowledgeable direction. This lack of leadership at a national level is having a demoralising effect on the providers of the service.” It also found that “the most important factor inhibiting the introduction of improvement is the lack of clinical [dental] leadership in the PDS”.



Dentists reject ‘fraudulent claims’

Posted in Articles by saraburke on October 27, 2009

The ‘dental fraud’ saga continues….

THE HSE and the Irish Dental Association (IDA) have strongly rejected reports that in excess of 10 per cent of the €85 million budget spent on a dental scheme may be paid to dentists making fraudulent and inappropriate claims. The scheme is known as the Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS).

Fintan Hourihan, the chief executive of the IDA, which represents dentists, said the assertion was “misleading and unfair” while Paddy Burke, of the HSE’s Primary Care Reimbursement Scheme which makes these payments, said he was “satisfied that there is a sophisticated set of controls in place to prevent fraudulent payments”.

The €8 million-plus estimate was contained in unpublished documents on probity commissioned by the Department of Health and internal department documentation as recently as last June. Their contents were reported in last week’s Healthplus. The Department of Health has since posted the report, entitled the 2009 Report on Probity Assurance within the Dental Care Sector on its website. (more…)

Interest in inappropriate and fraudulent payments across the public health schemes

Posted in Blog by saraburke on October 21, 2009

Below and above are a series of articles by me that appeared in the Irish Times health supplement on 20 and 27 October 2009 on fraudulent and inappropriate claims by dentists participating in the free public dental scheme for adults who are medical card holders.

The unpublished Department of Health and HSE documents warn that in excess of 10% of the €85 million allocated to this scheme is inappropriate. They also indicate that this abuse may not be confined to just one scheme and is happening across other demand led schemes where the HSE contracts services from professionals.

If you have information on any such inappropriate practice or payments I am very interested in hearing from you. Please get in touch….

Dental schemes in need of check-up

Posted in Articles by saraburke on October 21, 2009

This is the long version of the story that appeared in Irish TImes on 20 October 2009

More than 10 per cent of the claims made by private dentists could be inappropriate or fraudulent, writes SARA BURKE

A SERIES of unpublished reports on the free dental scheme for adults seen by The Irish Times reveals that in excess of 10 per cent of the €85 million budget is paid out by the HSE on inappropriate or fraudulently claimed payments by dentists in private practice.

Despite knowledge by senior officials in the Department of Health and the HSE of these payments in the dental scheme, no action has been taken.

Reports have been commissioned as far back as 2002 making recommendations on how best to put checks in place for dentists who wrongly claim fees or carry out inappropriate procedures under the Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS). (more…)