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Rest Homes Reject Demands For Birth Certificates, Passports

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Rest Homes Reject Demands For Birth Certificates, Passports

Auckland, Aug 31 NZPA - Rest homes in Auckland are refusing to comply with demands from health authorities to produce passports or birth certificates for elderly residents or face a bill for their care.

The Auckland District Health Board has told more than 60 rest homes and hospitals that if they failed to provide birth certificates or passports for rest home residents to prove they were New Zealanders they would be invoiced for the elderly residents' taxpayer-financed care subsidies, the New Zealand Herald reported today.

Without the documentation "we are obliged to invoice the patient for treatment received" the district health board said.

Any name change required additional data such as marriage certificate, deed poll name change or sworn JP statements, last week's letter from the DHB's patient eligibility supervisor to one rest home said.

The newspaper said the Government paid providers about $900 million a year for aged residential care. About 75 percent of it was through means-tested subsidies with the rest through superannuation.

The Auckland District Health Board had tightened up on eligibility, with a policy that required all new patients, except those seeking care for accidental injury covered by ACC, to supply a copy of their birth certificate or other proof, the newspaper said.

Aged Care Association chief executive Martin Taylor said yesterday the new DHB demand was excessive red tape and would be difficult to implement.

He said it was nonsensical and rest homes would not ask 90-year-old people for their birth certificates and passports.

The board's general manager of planning and funding, Denis Jury, said there had always been a concern ineligible people using the services.

The Ministry of Health said the cost of a fully subsidised person was about $32,000 a year and it was prudent to ensure they were eligible.

Mr Taylor said he had legal advice that it was doubtful that providers could be made to comply with the demand.

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