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Government establishes Chronic Disease Dental Scheme audit taskforce.



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10 June 2010

Government establishes Chronic Disease Dental Scheme audit taskforce

The Minister for Human Services, Chris Bowen MP, today announced that a Medicare Australia taskforce has been established to investigate dentists’ compliance with the Chronic Disease Dental Scheme.

Initial audits of 49 dentists showed a substantial number of them failing to comply with all the requirements of the Chronic Disease Dental Scheme.

Incorrect claims for 11 of the 49 dentists currently being audited have been found to be in the order of $7.5 million.

“Medicare Australia has had ongoing concerns about compliance with the scheme, as it has identified dentists claiming for work they have not provided and claiming when they did not meet the legal requirements of the scheme,” Mr Bowen said.

“The Rudd Government has tried to shut down Tony Abbott’s inefficient Chronic Disease Dental Scheme so we can meet our election commitment to replace it with the fairer Commonwealth Dental Health Program, but we have faced the usual obstructionism in the Senate from the Liberal and National Parties.

“Until we can abolish this scheme, it is important that we work to make sure that money claimed incorrectly is paid back to the taxpayer.”

The Chronic Disease Dental Scheme Taskforce will undertake audits on a further 250 dentists on the basis of intelligence, tip-offs and irregularly high claiming patterns.

“I understand that most dentists try to do the right thing and that the majority of incorrect claiming is accidental,” Mr Bowen said.

Medicare Australia is working with the Australian Dental Association to educate and inform dentists on the correct use of the scheme, and will send a letter to all dentists explaining the laws in relation to the scheme and its upcoming compliance activity.

People who suspect non-compliance or possible fraud against Medicare should report it by phoning 131 524.

The Chronic Disease Dental Scheme gives eligible patients subsidies of up to $4,250 for dental treatment.

When Mr Abbott introduced the Chronic Disease Dental Scheme in the lead up to the 2007 election, it was projected to cost $377 million over four years. In 2009, dentists claimed more than $484 million under the scheme.