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Wednesday, 1 April 1987
Page: 1675

(Question No. 1400)


Senator Jones asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 25 September 1986:

(1) How many medical practitioners in Australia were charged with overservicing Medicare in the financial years 1983-84, 1984-85 and 1985-86.

(2) What were the results of such charges through the courts or through internal investigations conducted by the Federal Government.


Senator Tate —The Minister for Health has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) The provision of excessive services is not an offence, but services which are not reasonably necessary for the adequate medical care of the patient do not attract Medicare benefits. A practitioner who may have rendered excessive services is not `charged' in the legal sense of the term. However, he may be referred to a Medical Services Committee of Inquiry, which reports to me on the question of whether excessive services have been provided. I may then make a determination in accordance with the report and recommendation of the Committee of Inquiry. I may determine that the referred practitioner be counselled; that he be reprimanded; and/or that he be required to repay moneys in respect of Medicare benefits paid for services deemed to be excessive. If no excessive services are found, no determination is issued.

(2) The figures given below show the number of referrals to Medical Services Committees of Inquiry in each of the financial years 1983-84, 1984-85, 1985-86, and the result of each referral. The number of referrals does not include cases brought forward from the previous financial year.

1983-84

1984-85

1985-86

$

$

$

Number of referrals...

23

18

8

Number of determinations (total)...

10

10

2

counselling...

6

8

1

reprimand...

5

4

1

moneys to be repaid...

10

10

1

Cases still before Committee...

3

2

5

Cases from which no determination resulted...

10

6

1

Cases for which appeals are pending...

4

6

1

Moneys determined to be repayable...

59,268.60

83 603.07

7,072.55