<p class=”p1″>Speaking to the <strong><em>Medical Independent</em></strong><span class=”s1″>(<strong><em>MI</em></strong>), a patient said that after attending an out</span>patient rheumatology clinic in St James’s for <span class=”s1″>biologic infusion treatments for over six years, the hospital starting charging her last year as a day case patient. She claimed this followed the </span>demolition of a rheumatology outpatient clinic building, to make room for the new Nation<span class=”s1″>al Children’s Hospital, and the move of the service to another part of the hospital.</span>
<p class=”p1″>Dozens of other rheumatology patients are now being charged as day case patients by the hospital for biologic infusions, she claimed, despite being long-time outpatients and their treatment remaining the same. They also report being asked for private health insurance <span class=”s1″>details, despite being treated as public patients, </span>and for payment even though they have long <span class=”s1″>held medical cards.</span>
<p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>In response to queries from <strong><em>MI </em></strong>about the issue, a spokesperson for the hospital eventually replied: “St James’s Hospital consolidated these services into a new Ambulatory Care Unit with designated day beds. The charges refer to a correction in the classification of the procedures. This correction is </span>unrelated to the building of the Children’s <span class=”s1″>Hospital. “</span>
<p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>The hospital refused to answer how many patients were impacted by the changes and </span>what income it was making from them, merely replying: “St James’s Hospital applied the standard government charge for these services and Rheumatology was pri<span class=”s1″>marily affected.”</span>
<p class=”p1″>This charge is currently €80 per day up to <span class=”s1″>a maximum of €800 in any 12-month period.</span>
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