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Homemieditorialmivision Issue 201 June 2024

mivision Issue 201 June 2024

Medicare – Australia’s taxpayer-funded universal health care scheme – notches up 50 years of operation this year. It’s an incredible milestone that deserves celebrating – after all it has enabled Australians to thrive with worldclass health care services delivered for free or at a subsidised rate.

However, Medicare is complex for practitioners to navigate and equally complex for the authorities to watch over, with an honour system – meaning claims are automatically paid without checks – leaving it open to misuse and abuse.

As highlighted in an ABC Four Corners report earlier this year, some medical practitioners are rorting the system by deliberately claiming on Medicare schedule items for services not being delivered.

Stakeholders, including medical practitioners and healthcare executives, have called for an urgent reform of the billing processes in the hope that this may clean up the system and reduce accidental and purposeful misuse of Medicare.

It makes sense. In the end it’s the public that pays.

In this issue of mivision, Simon Hanna takes a good look at the Medicare landscape, how it has changed over the years, and optometrists’ patterns of Medicare item usage. Simon also explains about the Department of Health’s audit and review procedures when it identifies any suspicious item usage.

His article precedes a virtual CPD conference, to be hosted by mivision in July, during which Simon will delve further into the detail of how optometrists can use Medicare to maximise eye health outcomes for patients.

Having seen the high level of interest Medicare seminars have attracted at optometry conferences in the past, I’m confident Simon’s CPD seminar will be well attended. You can find the details and register to attend on page 104 of this issue of mivision.