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Tuesday, 10 September 1996
Page: 3916

(Question No. 393)

Mr Rocher asked the Minister for Health and Family Services, upon notice, on 17 June 1996:

(1) How many instances of erroneous payments by Medicare to medical practitioners were recorded in (a) 1993, (b) 1994, (c) 1995 and (d) 1996 to the date of answering this question.

(2) What action is taken against (a) practitioners who inadvertently bank cheques payable to them for services not rendered or claimed and (b) those responsible for authorising incorrect payments.

Dr Wooldridge —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) It is not clear what is meant by erroneous payments. The Health Insurance Commission, in processing claims for Medicare Benefits, carries out a range of checks to ensure that the processing carried out is as correct or accurate as possible. In terms of underpayments, a very small percentage of underpayments, relative to total claims, were identified and corrected in the years listed as the following table indicates:

YearOriginal ClaimsUnderpayments%

(2) Where practitioners inadvertently bank cheques payable to them for services not rendered or claimed, recovery action is taken to firstly, recover the amount involved and secondly, to identify how the incorrect payment occurred. The increasing use of scanning and EDI facilities by the HIC has reduced the errors.