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NSW optom fraud prompts warning

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Optometrists should be vigilant to ensure Medicare record keeping is in order and to close down their provider numbers when they leave jobs, warned Optometry Australia today after news a fraudulent operator was jailed.

Optometry Australia’s warning comes on the back of reports of a Sydney-based optometry business operator who was jailed for defrauding Medicare of more than $4 million.

The proprietor, who is not an optometrist, submitted 30,000 claims for more than 49,000 optometry services which were not actually provided.

The practice employs six optometrists who were unaware that their Medicare provider numbers were being used as part of the fraud.

Chief Clinical Office of Optometry Australia Luke Arundel said it was also a timely reminder that Medicare closely scrutinized claims.

“We are reminding our members that it’s essential that they are vigilant about the veracity of claims. We’re here to help if members have queries,” Luke said.

Any optometry members with concerns about potential misuse of provider numbers or other related issues should contact Optometry Australia at national@optometry.org.au or their state association.

Any members affected by the Sydney case contact Andrew McKinnon at the Optometry NSW/ACT office on (02) 97122199.

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