over €2.3 million in medical card payments went to the top five GP earners in Kildare and West Wicklow under the scheme in 2010, writes Niamh O’Donoghue.
The list of GPs who receive payments for treating patients with medical cards was released last month. The latest figures from the Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS) of the HSE date back to 2010.
J.P. Mac Dougald, who has a practice in Athy, topped the Kildare/West Wicklow region, receiving €507,808 in fees, allowances and practise support.
Athy’s Giles J. O’Neill came next with €486,828 followed by Clane GP, Francis X. Flanagan with €477,625 and Thomas V. Walsh from Celbridge with €457,115. Muiris De Bhulbh, who has a practice in Leixlip, earned €419,446.
A total of 78 family doctors in the Kildare/West Wicklow area received payments from the HSE for treating medical card patients. Other GPs who earned in excess of €300,000 under the scheme included Clare O’Flynn - €398,647, Yvonne Mitchell - €383,003, Anthony Joeseph Reeves - €339,980, and Denis G.O’Dwyer - €334,205.
Under the medical card scheme, the majority of GPs are paid an annual capitation fee for each eligible person - the rate of payment is determined by the age/gender of the person and the distance between each person’s residence and the centre of practice of their doctor of choice. A minority of doctors who have continued to provide services under the fee per item of service agreement are paid a fee for each doctor patient contact. There are further payments for excisions, suturing, vacinations, catherisation, family planning as well as out-of-hours fees. Other payments under the patient support scheme include annual and study leave, locum, nursing and secretarial support. The 2010 figures only include doctors who participated in the scheme for the full year. General Practitioners (GPs) provide services to medical card holders free of charge. GPs in the General Medical Services (GMS) Scheme enter into contracts with Health Service Executive (HSE) to provide services. Patients may choose their doctor from a panel of doctors who are part of the scheme, provided the doctor is willing to have them as patients. The top earner on a national level was Dublin GP, Andrew Jordan who received €846,517 in 2010.