The rort goes on …

New laws will make it easier for Medicare to open your books.

Human Services minister Tanya Plibersek announced legislative changes on the weekend that will help Medicare investigators to demand patient records when investigating suspected Medicare dental rorts. ”This new legislation will give us the power to ensure that people comply with the rules of the scheme,” she told a Sydney newspaper.

The newspaper reported that nearly one-third of dentists under inquiry had refused to co-operate with Medicare audits, stalling investigations and requiring Medicare to invest an enormous amount of staff time in gathering evidence.

A government spokesperson was quoted as saying, ”We are currently focusing on high-claiming dentists. This means there can be hundreds or thousands of dental services and patients that need to be reviewed and substantiated.”

Examples given in the report (online here) include a dentist who declined to participate in an audit of patient services was found after a five-month check of doctors and patients to have made ”non-compliant claims” in relation to 143 out of 173 patients audited. In another case, a dentist who incorrectly claimed more than $2 million from Medicare is said to have flouted the rules even after being approached by Medicare officials. Medicare said it had received 558 complaints or tip-offs identifying 487 dentists alleged to have undertaken lucrative work, including the installation of crowns and dentures, not justifiable under the scheme.


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