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Professional Services Review protecting patients.



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MEDIA RELEASE Minister for Health and Ageing

Tony Abbott MHR

19 July 2007 ABB087/07

Professional Services Review protecting patients

A review of the Professional Services Review (PSR) Scheme has found that it continues to provide a safeguard for patients against inappropriate medical practice.

The PSR plays an important role in protecting the integrity of Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. While the vast majority of health practitioners provide appropriate services to patients, the PSR investigates instances where inappropriate practices may have occurred, and may impose sanctions on those found to have practised inappropriately.

The review, conducted during 2006, was overseen by a steering committee that included members of the Australian Medical Association, Medicare Australia, the Department of Health and Ageing and Professional Services Review.

The review found that the scheme continues to have the support of the health sector. The report recommends retaining the scheme, including the concept of ‘peer review’ that underpins it. On the matter of governance and coverage, the review has recommended the

appointment of an advisory committee, and broadening the scheme to include allied health practitioner services eligible for Medicare benefits.

It also recommends that the scheme’s processes be streamlined and its administration improved through consultation with professional colleges and medical bodies.

Between 1999-2000 and 2005-06, PSR considered 313 cases of possible inappropriate practice. This resulted in savings to Medicare of $4.3 million in benefits repaid and an estimated $12.9 million in benefits not paid due to partial or full disqualification from

Medicare eligibility.

Health practitioners covered by the PSR include medical and dental practitioners, podiatrists, chiropractors, osteopaths, physiotherapists and optometrists.

The recommendations will be implemented in consultation with the health sector. A copy of the full report, Review of the Professional Services Review Scheme - Report of the Steering Committee, can be found at www.health.gov.au/psr-review-report .

For more information call Mr Abbott's office on ph 02 6277 7220.