______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 23/11/2023
Question Number(s): 276 Question Reference(s): 51670/23
Department: Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
______________________________________________


QUESTION


To ask the Minister for Children; Equality; Disability; Integration and Youth if he has considered reimbursing parents who avail and pay for private assessments in respect of ASD services for children; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY


91 Children’s Disability Network Teams (CDNTs) are aligned to 96 Community Healthcare Networks (CHNs) across the country and are providing services and supports for children with complex disabilities aged from birth to 18 years of age, including AON (assessment of need) and therapy supports.  

Some families source private assessments to facilitate access to educational supports such as special schools or classes. In many cases, these are unidisciplinary assessments which are usually accepted in the education sector. In general, HSE or HSE funded services, in line with best practice guidelines, use a multidisciplinary approach to assessment, specifically to ASD assessment. In these circumstances the HSE will undertake a multidisciplinary assessment where appropriate, to confirm a diagnosis and to determine the necessary interventions.

The HSE does not fund or reimburse any fees paid to private practitioners in any of the health service areas where assessments have been commissioned by the service user or their family.

Private providers are currently being contracted by the HSE and its funded agencies to provide assessments and / or interventions. In such instances, the HSE and HSE funded agencies ensure that the contracted providers are appropriately qualified and that any assessments or interventions are provided in line with the appropriate standards, appropriate procurement procedures, Garda vetting and due diligence practice.

In this regard, the HSE is currently finalising a tender process and Service Specification for the delivery of Assessment of Need from private providers.