Crackdown on doctors’ rorts cost millions

An Australian National Audit Office report earlier this year found an expanded four-year Medicare compliance program not only fell $128.3 million short of its savings target but was delivered at a net cost to government.

The Increased Medicare Compliance Audits (IMCA) initiative received funding of $77 million in the 2008–09 budget to step up audits of Medicare providers from 500 per year to 2500. 

While the budget projected the measure would raise $147.2 million, the Department of Human Services identified only $49.2 million in debts and recovered just $18.9 million as a result of Medicare compliance audits between 2008–09 and 2012–13.

A parliamentary committee attempting to untangle the disaster on Thursday found senior department officials could not explain how Medicare came up with target figure of $147.2 million, which would have produced a net saving of $70 million.

Darren Box, the department’s general