Patients in Louth with private health insurance who present to a public hospital with cardiac symptoms may be missing out on rapid access to cardiac intervention because they are unaware they have the option to be transferred to a private hospital cath lab.
Emerging trends suggest this may be because patients are unwilling or reticent to declare their insurance because of recent misleading and confusing information in the media that exercising their insurance may increase their premium at renewal or prevent them returning to the public system for follow up care.
According to Mater Private, many patients admitted to public hospitals who need cardiac procedures are transferred to public hospital cath labs, despite having private health insurance. As a consequence, a significant number are left waiting several days and often over a weekend because of demand on public waiting lists.
This further adds to already long public lists and deprives patients who have paid their health insurance the option of immediate access to often lifesaving care.
These patients could have been transferred to Mater Private for their procedure who offers rapid access to three state-of-the art cath labs and a team of over 20 cardiologists operating twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. This is really important considering patients with certain cardiac conditions benefit from rapid access to early intervention and are known to have better clinical outcomes then those who don't.
Frances Bothwell, aged 88 from Carlingford in Louth was recently brought to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital with chest pain. Frances, who has private health insurance and a medical card, was in the hospital for 4 days waiting on a procedure before she was eventually transferred. She spoke to medical staff and asked if she could be transferred and was eventually moved to the Mater Private for an angiogram and treatment.
Speaking about her experience, Frances said “It was great to get everything done so quickly. Everyone in the Mater Private was very professional and overall my experience was very positive. I was only in Mater Private Hospital for a few hours but felt I got great care there in that time. I would recommend people to tell the staff in in Our Lady of Lourdes that they have health insurance as it sped up my treatment and it could do the same for them.”
Caroline Whelan Chief Operations Officer said “It’s frustrating for us to know that patients who are eligible for rapid access to cardiac intervention at the Mater Private, like Frances are waiting on public lists. This is particularly concerning when we are talking about cardiac procedures that can often be life changing or lifesaving. Our advice to patients is to be proactive and declare your health insurance. More importantly if you are told you need a cardiac procedure be aware that you can request transfer to a private hospital cath lab. This will in turn alleviate demand on the public waiting lists.’
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