The association of Australian doctors investigated for the inappropriate practice and use of Medicare, wrong and over-prescription of drugs and the performance of unnecessary procedures which has more than tripled in the past six years.
The Professional Social Review (PSR) who holds responsibility for the investigation of bad practice among health professionals has received a total of 136 requests of scrutiny from 2008 to 2009 from Medicare Australia.
Over-prescription of sleeping pills, drugs and pain-killers and over-referral of diagnostic imaging are among the common problems encountered by the PSR, reports says.
The report highlights the excessive use of CT Scans to patients who have back pains, which rose to 140 percent from the years 1992 to 1996. It states that the doctors still refer patients to CT scans despite the lack of information presented to them about the high risk of exposure to cancer due to the radiation present during the process.
PSR director Dr. Tony Webber said, Many doctors who were investigated have provided their patients with a number of potentially dangerous medical prescriptions and drugs including narcotic pain medications and even antibiotics without careful clinical monitoring.
Of the 136 cases, 42 led to negotiated agreements between PRS and the practitioner. 26 were reprimanded, 18 were partially disqualified from Medicare, two were fully disqualified and 30 were ordered to pay in the amounts of $4000 to $178,994, totaling more than $1.2 million.
Other areas that must be taken into consideration includes the claiming of Medicare benefits for single consultations, over-use of optometrists and lack of complete and comprehensive history-taking by doctors.