Dodgy doctors have been caught milking millions of dollars from Australian taxpayers by over servicing their patients. The Medicare watchdog caught a doctor that was paid almost $100,000 dollars by claiming $240 dollars in rebates for chronic disease management more than 400 times in one year.

The Professional Services Review Board revealed in its annual report that its investigations had resulted in 25 doctors repaying $4.6 million dollars. One doctor was ordered to repay $1.1 million dollars. The review board said that the shift from small independent surgeries to bigger corporate medical practices was partly to blame. It identified several cases where practice owners did not inform doctors what was appropriate to claim from Medicare.

To claim these rebates doctors, are required to draw up a detailed long term patient care plan. The PSR review board found that some GP's had prepared annual plans without even seeing patients. Misuse of rebates for managing chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma and auto - immune conditions is a major concern.

The review board has completed 49 investigations taking no further action against 24 doctors while 25 agreed to repay or were ordered to repay money. Three doctors were disqualified from making Medicare claims between six - twelve months and five were referred to medical boards for possible further sanctions. One case remains before the court.

In the example of the doctor who had collected $240 dollars on more than 400 occassions, an examination of patient records showed they had done little beyond basic demographic and clinical data entered automatically by the practice computer.

Published by Julian Groom