A medical receptionist in Southport has been convicted and sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment by the Southport District Court on Wednesday, 25 January 2023 after pleading guilty to fraudulently claiming more than $253,000 in Medicare payments under the Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS).
Following a successful referral to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) by the Department of Health and Aged Care’s Benefits Integrity and Digital Health Division, Ms Angela Rose was charged with four counts of obtaining a financial advantage under section 134.2 (1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 and two counts of attempting to pervert justice under section 43 (1) of the Crimes Act 1914.
Ms Rose entered a plea of guilty to all charges and was sentenced to four years imprisonment for each of the four counts of breaching section 134.2 (1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 to be served concurrently, with a non-parole period of 18 months to include time already served.
She was sentenced to three months imprisonment for each count of breaching section 43(1) of the Crimes Act 1914 and has been ordered to repay the $253,224.85.
The charges relate to an investigation conducted by the Department of Health and Aged Care that found Ms Rose unlawfully claimed benefits under the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) between 21 March 2016 and 16 August 2017.
As a result of the fraudulent claiming, she received $253,224.85 in Medicare benefits to which she was not entitled.
This case is another reminder of the real and serious consequences of Medicare fraud.
The Department of Health and Aged Care takes allegations of Medicare non-compliance very seriously and all tip-offs are reviewed.
The Department has a range of methods to identify, verify and investigate inaccurate claiming.
It works closely with health professionals, health businesses, and their employees to resolve issues, including if they have not complied with reporting requirements because of genuine mistakes.
Where incorrectly or fraudulently claimed benefits are identified, the Department will seek to recover those funds and/or refer matters to the CDPP where criminal prosecution is considered appropriate.
The Department may work in partnership or request the assistance of law enforcement bodies like the Australian Federal Police (AFP) or State Police where appropriate.
Anyone with information about suspected non-compliance or fraud of Government health payments by health providers can make a report via the “Reporting Fraud” page on the Department of Health and Aged Care's website at www.health.gov.au/fraud-tip-offs or by calling the Provider Benefits Integrity Hotline on 1800 314 808.