Scrutiny on doctors rorting Medicare to rise

A report by the auditor-general tabled in federal parliament shows the department of human services bungled a four-year program under which it received extra funds to step up audits of Medicare claims by health professionals. 

The Increased Medicare Compliance Audits (IMCA) initiative aimed to lift the number of audits to 2500 per year, up from 500, for an increase of 8000 over the four years from 2008 to 2009.

Armed with enhanced audit powers as well as a bigger target group, the department’s investigators were expected to claw back $147.2 million over four years, with an administration cost of $76.9 million, for a net saving of $70.2 million.

However, between 2008–09 and 2012–13, the department only identified a total of $49.2 million in debts and recovered $18.9 million from Medicare compliance audits, according to the report. 

So even if all the money owed had been recovered, the IMCA program would still