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Health Board Recovers $143,000 From Doctor

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Health Board Recovers $143,000 From Doctor

Waikato District Health Board has recovered $143,400 from a doctor who was being paid as a fulltime employee while working two days every week in private practice.

The tip off about the doctor came from a member of the public on the Waikato DHB fraud hotline in September 2009, a month after the 0800 424 888 service launched.

The woman was concerned that a doctor employed full time by Waikato DHB was seemingly unavailable for two days when her daughter was due for discharge.

She rang the Fraud Hotline to air her concerns. Audit and Compliance, a Ministry of Health business unit responsible for managing risks associated with payment for services to contracted health providers, operate the hotline and alerted the DHB.

After a preliminary investigation, the Waikato DHB's audit and risk management committee gave permission to proceed to recover the money.

It cost $23,000 to recover the $143,400 but it was money well spent, said chief financial officer Maureen Chrystall.

"We've learned a lot from this ourselves - about our processes and checks and measures. We will be more vigilant now."

Risk Assessment and Intelligence Manager Paul Johnstone said fraud hotlines worked well and resulted in a number of successful prosecutions against health providers.

"Since the launch nationally, we have had 62 calls, five in the Waikato, A number have resulted, or will result in prosecution for fraud - these include some providers including pharmacists, contractors, rest home owners or carer support claimants.

"We are pleased with the way the Waikato DHB hotline is working. While there have not been a large number of calls the hotlines provide a facility for people to report genuine suspicions of fraud with confidence someone will properly deal with their concerns professionally and they can remain anonymous if they wish.

"We continue to encourage people to be vigilant and help us protect precious health dollars by reporting concerns of suspected fraud," said Mr Johnstone.

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