Senator calls for probe into second health group over top-up payments

 Colm Burke: Top-ups being repeated in second group.

A government official has called for a new “top-up” payments investigation into state-funded health groups not included in this week’s revelations, after claims some CEOs are receiving €340,000 a year.

Senator Colm Burke of Fine Gael said the move is needed to ensure public money is spent on services and not on extra salaries for already highly paid employees.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Mr Burke said this week’s revelations over “section 38” voluntary hospitals and health agencies are almost certainly being repeated in a different group called “section 39” organisations.

This group — which involves groups receiving less than half of their money from the HSE — has yet to be subjected to wide-reaching investigation.

A total of €3.4bn in state support is given to 2,680 groups under these two categories every year.

However, despite claims some officials in section 39 groups are receiving €340,000 a year in salaries and “top-up” payments — with one organisation alleged to be paying two managers €250,000 each a year — Mr Burke said there is no transparency on how the taxpayer funds and private donations are used.

A HSE spokesperson said the organisation “carries out audits of section 39 agencies as part of its audit work”. A number of these audits have raised concerns over how bodies are spending funds.

However, unlike section 38 groups, as section 39 organisations receive less than half of their money from the State they are not restricted to public service pay rates.

A list of section 38 groups which have failed to confirm they have stopped top-up payments is set to be revealed within 48 hours.


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