The executive arranging HSE-funded care for patients in Spain is ‘supporting Gardai’ in fraud investigations

The corporate secretary of a company involved in arranging the treatment of Irish patients at a Spanish hospital confirmed he was “supporting” Gardaí over alleged fraud.

The alleged fraud relates to a former medical organization where he was executive director.

Chris Goodey, who is now corporate secretary of Healthcare Abroad and was formerly executive director of the defunct National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP), answered questions from the Irish Independent.

He said: “I have not been arrested for alleged fraud and I am assisting Gardaí in all their investigations. As this matter is now final, I cannot comment further.”

Mr Goodey’s Healthcare Abroad business is involved in arranging treatment under an HSE funded program for patients from Ireland.

It arranges the logistics for patients in need of medical care who have been medically approved for treatment at the new HCB Denia Hospital on the Costa Blanca, Alicante in Spain, under the EU Borders Directive.

The hospital was featured on RTE news yesterday and included an interview with a senior HSE official.

The scheme, which applies to all EU countries – and has been expanded to include hospitals in Northern Ireland – allows patients to be treated in both Member States and Northern Ireland. It applies to patients who have been approved, regardless of whether they are on a waiting list or not.

You will have to prepay the bill for the treatment but will be reimbursed by the HSE.

Most patients bypass authorities and make appointments themselves in hospitals in Northern Ireland or any country in the EU, as long as they have a doctor’s clearance and referral and the green light for HSE here.

The NAGP was at the center of another controversy over a leaked doctor’s contract from Tánaiste Leo Varadkar to its former president, Dr. Maitiú Ó Tuathail following Mr Goodey’s departure.

Both Mr. Varadkar and Dr. Ó Tuathail have now been cleared of any wrongdoing.

A spokesman for Healthcare Abroad said hip and knee surgeries at the Spanish hospital cost between €11,000 and €7,000. A shoulder operation can cost between 5,000 and 7,000 euros.

Patients pay in advance and are reimbursed upon acceptance by the HSE, but must pay for their own airfare and accommodation.

He said Healthcare Abroad is managing all the logistics, including accommodation, airport and hospital transfers.

The HSE was unable to provide figures on take-up of the cross-border scheme yesterday.

But the number that do so remains relatively small, given the size of the public waiting lists here, where a patient has to wait years in potentially excruciating pain between queuing to see a specialist and having surgery.

When asked last night about his knowledge of the Healthcare Abroad company, the HSE said their relationship was with the patient and not a third party. The executive arranging HSE-funded care for patients in Spain is ‘supporting Gardai’ in fraud investigations

Fry Electronics Team

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