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Tuesday, 19 August 1980
Page: 446

Mr Les Johnson (HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 20 May 1 980:

(   1 ) Does his Department carry out routine investigations to ensure that doctors provide their services for the scheduled fee charged.

(2)   If so, (a) how many persons were employed by his Department on such investigations in each year since 1 975 and (b) were any doctors prosecuted for overcharging their patients and/or defrauding the Commonwealth in each year since 1 975; if so, how many.

(3)   What Commonwealth funds have been lost as a result of overpayment to the medical profession in relation to the provision of services in each year since 1 975.

Mr MacKellar - The answer io the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   No.

(2)   (a) In view of the answer to (1) above, the question is not applicable in respect of routine investigations to ensure that doctors provide their services for the Schedule fee.

(b)   Doctor prosecution figures based on defrauding the Commonwealth for medical benefits since 1 975 are as follows: 1975- nil; 1976-4; 1977-3; 1978-5; 1979-5; 1980-2 (there are 7 doctors presently undergoing prosecution in relation to alleged fraudulent Commonwealth medical benefit claims).

(3)   As stated in ( 1 ), there are no routine investigations into the charging practices of doctors and therefore it is not possible to provide the honourable member with the information he has sought. However, from investigations that have been carried out the following moneys have been recovered:

1976........... $172,438.47

1977........... 455,546.49

1978........... 205,029.95

1979........... 171,199.94

1980........... 63,025.75*


* as at 30 April 1980.

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