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Canberra hospital defends fraud accusations


Calvary Hospital has hit back at accusations it was defrauding private health funds, labelling the claims as inaccurate and misleading.

The Canberra Times reported on Saturday that independent auditors were investigating staff claims that health funds were being charged for the treatment of public patients.

The hospital's acting chief executive officer, Vicki Williams, said the investigation was not related to private health funds but to invoicing patients through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

She said it was Calvary Health Care ACT being investigated, not its parent body the Little Company of Mary.

ACT Health has directed consulting firm Acumen to conduct the inquiry.

The issue with veteran patients had come about when a patient had come to the hospital's public emergency department and through a new clinical decision unit, where patients were assessed to see whether they required hospitalisation.

Patients could then move into private facilities or stay in public care.

Ms Williams said it had been a DVA requirement that patients be invoiced as either a public or private patient for their entire stay.

"The allegation was made that it wasn't being done correctly ... once we realised what was happening that was subsequently changed."

The department had been contacted to make sure that change, which recognised when patients were public or private, could occur.

She was confident procedures were now being handled correctly.

Little Company of Mary national chief executive officer David Butt repeated that LCM was not being investigated and that the Calvary hospitals were recognised for providing high levels of care.

He rejected a staff member's suggestion that ACT Health should take over Calvary's public hospital facilities.

"I know Canberrans are extremely pleased with the outstanding level of care provided by both hospitals." The Community and Public Sector Union's attack on hospital management was unjustified, he said.

SOURCE
Calvary hits back at accusations of fraud (Canberra Times 31/7/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Calvary Health Care ACT
Little Company of Mary Health Care | Calvary ACT
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32 Aug 2005