Massive crackdown on crooked doctors failed to return money

A MASSIVE government crackdown on doctors' rorting the Medicare claims scheme failed to recover the more-than $120 million in taxpayers' funds from questionable claims put through the healthcare program.

The 2008 crackdown, by the Department of Human Services, aimed to audit 2500 Medicare claims made by doctors for Medicare funds, to find out if claims were genuine.

But an Australian National Audit Office report on the program has found the audit program identified just $49 million claims which were false or incorrect, and only recovered $29 million of the lost monies - 87% less than expected.

That ANAO audit found the program left the Commonwealth coffers some $128 million short of the $147 million identified for recovery, raising concerns about the integrity of the multi-billion Medicare program.

The report found that the compliance crackdown, which aimed to return $70 million back to government coffers, was unable to deliver its promise outcome, and even if all the debts had been recovered, a 66% shortfall would have remained.

It also found problems in the accuracy of the department's debt calculations, risk analysis for potential rorting of the system and the overall Medicare compliance program.

The department welcomed the report in its official response, and said it "considers that implementation of its recommendations will build on work already undertaken".



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