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Non-resident patients at HB Hospital to be charged

MEDIA RELEASE

10 December 2003

Non-resident patients at HB Hospital to be charged for treatment

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board is tightening up its implementation of the Ministry of Health policy on charging non-New Zealand residents for hospital treatment unless they can provide proof of eligibility.

With limited funding available, providing publicly funded treatment to a non-eligible person could mean that an eligible person misses out

Chief executive officer, Chris Clarke, said that in line with the rest of New Zealand, generally speaking, if someone is not a resident of New Zealand, they will be charged for treatment at any Hawke’s Bay District Health Board facility.

Chris Clarke said it was important to note that anyone presenting at Hawke’s Bay Hospital’s emergency department would receive treatment regardless of their eligibility status

“We would not refuse to treat anyone based on their residency status, however, we will be tightening up on our process to obtain payment from non-residents receiving treatment.

“While anyone presenting with an acute medical need will receive treatment, we will wherever possible, refer non-residents back to their GP when they are referred for planned or elective procedures which are available in the private sector.

People born outside of New Zealand are required to provide details about their residency status when they are admitted to hospital or receiving treatment on an outpatient basis. Proof of eligibility is required within 21 days of receiving treatment, or they will be invoiced for the care received.

Charges range for the type of services provided. For example, a straightforward delivery of a baby with no additional services or medications, carried out by an independent Lead Maternity Carer in HBDHB facilities, the minimum cost would be approximately $1900. Someone presenting at the emergency department for assessment would be charged $138.

The sort of proof of eligibility documents that patients may be asked to produce include:
- A New Zealand passport or
- Certificate of citizenship with a copy of passport for identification or
- Passport with residence visa/permit or returning residents visa or
- Certificate of Identity with residence visa or
- Work permit/s which enables holder a continuous stay in New Zealand for more than two years plus identification
- UK/Australian passport holders need to check their eligibility as they have some reciprocal rights.
END

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