Education and support
We provide educational resources and personal support to help you meet your legal obligations as a health practitioner and reduce the risk of incorrect billing under Medicare.
- the introduction to compliance within Medicare eLearning module, which shows how you can meet your obligations
- the Medicare billing compliance eLearning module, which explains obligations, relevant legislation, and procedures in case of an incorrect claim
- the billing Medicare in public hospitals eLearning module, which explains how to bill and claim for services provided to patients in public hospitals
- information to help you identify, manage and prevent incorrect billing, and improve your practices, including our Medicare billing assurance toolkit
- Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) item notes, which explain the conditions for each item
- the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) guide, which explains the requirements of the CDBS
- AskMBS advisories, which provide advice on common issues
- AskMBS email advice service, which advises on how to interpret and apply MBS items, explanatory notes, and associated legislation, with no involvement in MBS compliance
- Services Australia, which provide support about Medicare claims, claims adjustments or obtaining a Medicare provider number.
Our educational resources can earn you continuing professional development points.
Behavioural insights and interventions
We use our knowledge of behaviour to improve compliance through:
- finding behaviours of concern and what might influence that behaviour, then removing the barriers to its change
- developing interventions based on research and behavioural science
- using robust evaluation, such as randomised controlled trials, to decide whether interventions are working.
For example, to help combat antimicrobial resistance, we trialled sending general practitioners who prescribed a lot of antibiotics a comparison of their data and that of their peers.
This resulted in a significant reduction of antibiotic prescriptions. Read the Nudge vs Superbugs – 6-month report and 12-month follow-up report.
We do routine data matching of health practitioners’ MBS and PBS claiming data to find possible incorrect billing, inappropriate practice and fraud.
When working with practitioners’ data, we:
- transfer it securely
- match it in secure environments
- apply strict security controls
- only allow authorised staff to access it when required for their duties.
If data matching identifies potential wrongdoing, our compliance officers carry out audits or investigations through prescribed and legislated compliance processes.
Data matching does not:
- expand our compliance powers
- change how we do compliance activities
- impose any changes or new obligations on health providers
- authorise the automation of compliance outcomes or the raising of debts.
The following legislation and regulations dictate how we can data match:
The National Health Act 1953 enables us to data match in specific circumstances for a permitted purpose.
- The National Health (Data-matching) Principles 2020 set out the governance requirements for data matching, including requiring:
- a public notice to provide transparency and awareness of data matching
- a public register describing the kinds of information we match.
We also publish a privacy impact assessment of our data matching activities.
Our data matching activities comply with the:
- Attorney-General's Department's Protective Security Policy Framework
- Department of Defence's Information Security Manual.
Targeted letter campaigns
We send targeted letters to alert you when your claiming patterns show you are at risk of non-compliance.
Many instances of incorrect payments are accidental. Targeted letters help you:
- review your claims
- find and correct any errors by making a voluntary acknowledgement
- repay any accrued debt.
Responding to a targeted letter is voluntary, but it is in your best interest to do so. When monitoring future claiming and deciding whether to undertake an audit or other intervention, we will consider any:
- information you provided to explain your claiming
- corrections you made to claims
- changes in your claiming patterns following our letter.
We conduct compliance audits and reviews for the MBS, PBS, CDBS and incentive programs.
If we have reasonable concerns about your Medicare claiming, we may issue a notice asking you to produce relevant documents to substantiate your Medicare claims.
We will raise a debt for the service if:
- you don't provide the documents we asked for
- the documents do not prove your professional service or claims were legitimate.
You may also face civil penalties if you have the records requested in the notice and don’t produce them.
If you’re being audited, read our fact sheets for the:
Review of decision
If we make a decision that amounts are recoverable following a compliance activity that you don't agree with, you can ask for a formal review.
You can ask for a review of decision if:
- an amount of money can be recovered from the decision
- we have not already reviewed the decision at your request.
- apply within 28 days of getting our ‘notice of decision to claim a debt’ letter
- use the approved application form
- make sure the application form is accurate and complete
- attach relevant additional information so that the review officer has everything they need.
If you are unsatisfied with the review officer’s decision, you may seek further review through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal or other appropriate jurisdiction.
You cannot ask for a review of decision if the person or estate has waived the right to review in writing.
Practitioner Review Program reviews
The Practitioner Review Program identifies potential inappropriate practice by health practitioners who bill, claim or prescribe under the MBS, CDBS and PBS.
Through routine monitoring of Medicare billing and prescribing, we identify health practitioners whose patterns:
- vary significantly from those of their peers, which might indicate inappropriate practice
- show a large number of daily services, which might indicate a prescribed pattern of services.
Case referral to the Professional Services Review
If, after we finalise a review, we believe the 80/20 or 30/20 rule may have been breached, or we still can’t be sure that inappropriate practice has not occurred, we refer cases to the Professional Services Review (PSR) for an independent professional review.
The PSR’s peer review processes ensure that appropriately qualified people decide whether your conduct would be unacceptable to most members of your profession or specialty.
We investigate suspected Medicare fraud from health practitioners, such as claiming for medication or services that were not provided.
Our investigations follow the:
We will offer you the opportunity to attend an interview to explain your practice.
If necessary, we can use powers under the national Human Services (Medicare) Act 1973 to require you to provide information or conduct search warrants.
We sometimes work with the police, and might refer matters to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions for possible criminal prosecution.