Who’s checking up on the doctors and their own billing?
With health spending running way over budget it must be a matter of great concern that some GPs are now under investigation by the HSE for overcharging of fees under the medical card scheme. An audit carried out in 2009 established that some doctors were claiming for 'out of hours' services to medical card patients which, it appears may not have been properly validated.
Although thousands of claims were audited only a small number were found to be defective. Most of the remaining 264 doctors in dispute have opted to "settle" for less than they claimed. In one case a claim for €186,000 has been cut to €15,000.
This is not the first instance in which the medical profession has come under scrutiny. Earlier this year it was alleged that some doctors were claiming VHI insurance payments for patients who were on trolleys in hospital corridors and not in beds as claimed on the appropriate forms.
In other lines of work this could be called theft and those involved would face the appropriate sanction.
Maybe it is time for the HSE – and the VHI – to adopt a more proactive and vigorous approach to medical professionals and to controlling its costs.