5 October 2011 Hobart dentist Dr Wilma Johnson is a victim of the Gillard Government’s unwarranted vendetta to close the Medicare Chronic Disease Dental Scheme.
Medicare Australia is demanding that Dr Johnson repay over $24,000 in benefits paid to the dental practice where she is employed, for services she provided under the MCDDS.
Shadow Minister for Health Peter Dutton today called for the demands for repayment against Dr Johnson, other Tasmanian dentists and dentists across Australia to be stayed.
It’s understood at least four other dentists in Tasmania have been audited so far.
“Dr Johnson by Medicare’s own assessment has made some inconsequential errors in her dealings with patients and Medicare under the MCDDS,” Mr Dutton said in Hobart this afternoon.
“She has provided all the services for which benefits have been paid. In fact Medicare admits that she provided further services at no cost to the patient or the Commonwealth Government and for that she is now being punished.”
Mr Dutton said the demands for repayments from dentists who had made minor paperwork errors showed the Federal Government was prepared to stop at nothing in its ideological determination to close the Medicare Chronic Disease Dental Scheme established by the former Howard Government.
“By some estimates this scheme has now provided much needed dental treatment – 11 million services to more than a million Australians suffering from chronic disease – yet the Gillard Government and Health Minister Nicola Roxon want to close it and replace it with a program that the Government estimates will provide just one million services over the next four years.”
“In its determination to do that, it has demonised honest, hardworking dentists accusing them of ‘rorting’ the MCDDS. Dentists like Dr Johnson.”
Mr Dutton said when Medicare’s own audit of Dr Johnson’s claims showed that she had more than provided the services claimed then both Medicare and the Gillard Government should reconsider their demands for repayment.
“Already one community (Huonville) has lost Dr Johnson’s services because of the Gillard Government’s actions. Other dentists across Tasmania are also believed to be no longer providing services under the MCDDS because of the demands for repayments for services they have provided.”
“The big losers from this Government’s vendetta are patients and communities who will no longer have services provided under Medicare,” Mr Dutton said.