Press Release

Minister for Health announces Martin Sisk as Chairman–Designate of the Voluntary Health Insurance Board

The Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly T.D. has today, (Friday, 14th September, 2012) announced that he proposes to appoint Mr. Martin Sisk as the new Chairman of the Voluntary Health Insurance Board.

Mr. Sisk was appointed to the board of the VHI earlier this year.  Mr Sisk is a solicitor with over 25 years of regulatory and business related experience. This includes his career in the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) where he was Deputy Registrar for Credit Unions, Deputy Head of Consumer Protection Codes and Head of the Anti Money Laundering, Terrorist Finance and Financial Sanctions Unit.  He also served as Registrar of Friendly Societies for a number of years.

Commenting on his proposed appointment of Mr Sisk, Minister Reilly said: –

“Given the key importance of the VHI in the Irish health service, particularly at this time of change, it is imperative that the person I appoint as Chairman has the appropriate qualifications and experience to undertake this challenging role. Given Mr Sisk’s abilities and experience, I consider him to be eminently suitable to lead the organisation in these circumstances. The VHI has a hugely important role to play in the reform of the Health System. It will contribute to ensuring high quality care and treatment is delivered while at the same time, ensuring a more cost-effective service for its clients.

As we move to establish Universal Health Insurance in Irish health services, the role to be played by the VHI will be vital in the next phase. Health insurance must be made more affordable and Martin Sisk with his legal, financial and regulatory experience will spearhead moves to achieve that end.

Among the many initiatives that will be carried out by the VHI will be Clinical Audit – evaluating the appropriateness of various procedures and treatments. As we roll out the ‘Money Follows the Patient principle’, payments should align to procedures and not to the number of days spent in a hospital. A transfer of excellence will be a must with lessons learned from the better-run hospitals. A drive to reduce the average length of stay and a move to root out payments that reflect outdated procedures will also be necessary. “

Mr. Sisk’s appointment as Chairman has been approved by the Central Bank of Ireland under its Fitness and Probity standards.

A new CEO, Mr John O’Dwyer has also taken up duty in the VHI and the Minister is very pleased that this team is in place to see the VHI through the challenging period ahead and to play its central role in the overall reform of the health service.

In accordance with Government policy on such appointments the necessary arrangements will now be made for Mr. Sisk’s appearance before the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children.