Medicare: Health Minister Mark Butler Responds to $8 Billion Harm Claims
One of Australia’s top doctors has said doctors are threatening to quit their jobs after reports claimed the profession was riddled with rorting.
On Monday, it was suggested that up to $8 billion was paid into Medicare each year, prompting Australian Medical Association director Professor Steve Robson to comment.
Prof Robson shared a tweet which suggested doctors were leaving general practices following the report.
He shared a photo of a GP, which read: ‘Many GPs have sent me DMs like this in the past 24 hours.
The tweet showed an image of a chat message that read, “I’m done with all abuse and politics. I will (sic) go back to work at the hospital.
The tweet came as Health Secretary Mark Butler said the amount of money allegedly paid by Medicare doctors was “extremely high”, while confirming a departmental analysis of the $8 billion figure.
Speaking on national radio, the health minister said he would ‘side with the truth’ after the Australian Medical Association slammed the rorting claims, published following an investigation by the Nine Entertainment newspapers and the ABC, as an “unwarranted insult” to the profession.
Mr Butler said he had asked the Health Department to review the doctoral dissertation, written by attorney Margaret Faux and quoted in Monday’s media, which estimated that $8 billion was being paid to Medicare each year.
“The figure used by Dr. Faux is significantly higher…than any figure used to date,” he said.
“That seems extremely high.”
Mr Butler said he understood the AMA’s reaction to the claims which would mean up to 30 per cent of medical consultations were charged inappropriately.
“There is unfortunately fraud in the Medicare system,” he said.
“There will inevitably be a bad rotten apple.”
Mr Butler said 24 cases were before the courts involving Medicare fraud, while another 18 cases had been sent to the Commonwealth’s Director of Public Prosecutions.
But he said there was strong compliance in the profession and that there were “many thousands of honest, hardworking healthcare professionals providing hundreds and hundreds of thousands of life insurance services every day. sickness”.
On Monday, WADA President Professor Steve Robson said the report was “as appalling as it is inaccurate”.
‘Doctors will be sickened by today’s news reports which are an undeserved attack on the entire profession based largely on anecdotes and individual cases,’ Prof Robson said.
“The AMA is working closely with the Department of Health on compliance and we have never seen any concerns or figures that would back up the numbers that were reported today.
“We do not condone fraud and instances of fraud must be combated and eradicated – but the figures reported today are grossly inflated.”