Large slice of urgent after-hours pie goes to a few doctors

A handful of doctors were responsible for billing 60% of the most common urgent after-hours Medicare item last year, generating $130 million in rebates.

New figures released by the Department of Health during Senate estimates reveal 8822 doctors billed the contentious ‘item 597’ in 2016–17. 

Yet a subgroup of 450 doctors — or 5% of the total — accounted for six in every 10 claims. That equates to roughly one million in total, or an average of six per day, every day, for each doctor. These doctors