OverviewThe Australian Government Department of Health (the department) is responsible for protecting the integrity of the health programs by ensuring only eligible services are paid for. To protect taxpayer dollars, we are committed to ensuring that the right person, doctor, specialist, pharmacist or patient, receives the right payment at the right time.
The department receives health provider fraud tip-offs through tip-off form submissions and the 1800 314 808 Provider Benefits Integrity Hotline.
ComplianceWe are focused on early intervention and prevention to help customers get their correct entitlements, and assist you to meet your obligations and responsibilities. We also work with you to resolve any issues made because of genuine mistakes. Where there is deliberate fraud, the matter may be referred for a criminal investigation. Where incorrectly claimed benefits are identified, we work to recover the money.
Compliance risk analysis and treatmentWe conduct compliance audits with you to verify details of services when there is a concern that payments are incorrect. If we find claiming that appears incorrect, you are given the opportunity to respond. If an audit also identifies behaviour that may be fraudulent, a criminal investigation may result.
We continually assess and monitor the compliance risks for health programs using the best available evidence, including information from data analysis, reviews and audits.
To understand emerging risks we keep up to date with the latest developments and trends and we consult with a wide range of stakeholders, such as the Australian Medical Association, Royal College of General Practitioners and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, to gain a better understanding of factors that affect compliance. We analyse data including health provider claiming patterns, information received through tip offs and information from environmental scanning to determine which compliance activities to undertake. Educational activities, audits, investigations and the Practitioner Review Program verify, assess and test compliance to ensure that benefits are claimed correctly.
Fraud investigationFraud against the Australian Government is defined as 'dishonestly obtaining a benefit, or causing a loss, by deception or other means'. We have investigators in each state who investigate fraud by health professionals against the Medicare program, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and other government program. In some cases, investigations are conducted in liaison with state and Federal Police.
If you engage in criminal or fraudulent activity, your case may be referred to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecution for consideration for potential criminal prosecution.
The Human Services (Medicare) Act 1973 provides us with additional authority to perform functions in relation to fraud investigation.
The Act allows us to:
- issue a notice requiring a person to give information or produce documents
- enter premises with the consent of the occupier and conduct a search for the purpose of monitoring compliance with regulatory requirements
- enter premises, conduct searches and seize material under warrant, where there are reasonable grounds for believing that a relevant offence is being or has been committed, and the Chief Executive Medicare has approved the use of the Act’s authority for that specific investigation.
How to report suspected fraud or suspicious activityIf you have concerns about the actions of a health provider in relation to a health related program you can:
- complete the tip-off form
- call the Provider Benefits Integrity Hotline on 1800 314 808 between the hours of 9am to 5pm AEST
For health program concerns relating to the actions of a member of the public, call the Department of Human Services (DHS) on 131 524 or alternatively go to the DHS Reporting fraud website page.