Dentists now under Medicare scrutiny as crackdown continues

MISINFORMATION from dentists is putting pressure on GPs to refer patients for dental work via the controversial Chronic Disease Dental Scheme, according to the head of the PSR.

PSR director Dr Tony Webber raised the issue as the Government announced it would focus on the scheme as part of its latest crackdown on inappropriate claiming of MBS items.

The scheme, which allows eligible patients to claim up to $4250 in dental work, is in the sights of Human Services Minister Tanya Plibersek after Medicare audits since July last year found $13.2 million of “potentially incorrect” claims and revealed 59% of dentists audited had bent the rules. Further auditing will cover another 400 dentists and the GPs who made the referrals. 

Dental services cost the MBS almost $186 million in the 2010 final quarter – a rise of $44 million on the same 2009 period.

Dr Webber said “reverse referrals” had increasingly undermined