Medicare Benefits Schedule - Note GN.8.18

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General Explanatory Notes


Provision for review of individual health professionals

The Professional Services Review (PSR) reviews and investigates service provision by health practitioners to determine if they have engaged in inappropriate practice when rendering or initiating Medicare services, or when prescribing or dispensing under the PBS. 

Section 82 of the Health Insurance Act 1973 defines inappropriate practice as conduct that is such that a PSR Committee could reasonably conclude that it would be unacceptable to the general body of the members of the profession in which the practitioner was practicing when they rendered or initiated the services under review.  It is also an offence under Section 82 for a person or officer of a body corporate to knowingly, recklessly or negligently cause or permit a practitioner employed by the person to engage in such conduct. 

The Department of Human Services monitors health practitioners' claiming patterns. Where the Department of Human Services detects an anomaly, it may request the Director of PSR to review the practitioner's service provision.  On receiving the request, the Director must decide whether to a conduct a review and in which manner the review will be conducted.  The Director is authorized to require that documents and information be provided. 

Following a review, the Director must:

decide to take no further action; or

enter into an agreement with the person under review (which must then be ratified by an independent Determining Authority); or

refer the matter to a PSR Committee. 

A PSR Committee normally comprises three medically qualified members, two of whom must be members of the same profession as the practitioner under review.  However, up to two additional Committee members may be appointed to provide wider range of clinical expertise. 

The Committee is authorized to:

investigate any aspect of the provision of the referred services, and without being limited by the reasons given in the review request or by a Director's report following the review;

hold hearings and require the person under review to attend and give evidence;

require the production of documents (including clinical notes). 

The methods available to a PSR Committee to investigate and quantify inappropriate practice are specified in legislation:

(a)        Patterns of Services - The Health Insurance (Professional Services Review) Regulations 1999 specify that when a general practitioner or other medical practitioner reaches or exceeds 80 or more attendances on each of 20 or more days in a 12-month period, they are deemed to have practiced inappropriately. 

A professional attendance means a service of a kind mentioned in group A1, A2, A5, A6, A7, A9, A11, A13, A14, A15, A16, A17, A18, A19, A20, A21, A22 or A23 of Part 3 of the General Medical Services Table. 

If the practitioner can satisfy the PSR Committee that their pattern of service was as a result of exceptional circumstances, the quantum of inappropriate practice is reduce accordingly.  Exceptional circumstances include, but are not limited to, those set out in the Regulations.  These include: 

an unusual occurrence;

the absence of other medical services for the practitioner's patients (having regard to the practice location); and

the characteristics of the patients. 

(b)        Sampling - A PSR Committee may use statistically valid methods to sample the clinical or practice records. 

(c)        Generic findings - If a PSR Committee cannot use patterns of service or sampling (for example, there are insufficient medical records), it can make a 'generic' finding of inappropriate practice. 

Additional Information

A PSR Committee may not make a finding of inappropriate practice unless it has given the person under review notice of its intention to review them, the reasons for its findings, and an opportunity to respond.  In reaching their decision, a PSR Committee is required to consider whether or not the practitioner has kept adequate and contemporaneous patient records (See general explanatory note G15.1 for more information on adequate and contemporaneous patient records). 

The practitioner under review is permitted to make submissions to the PSR Committee before key decisions or a final report is made. 

If a PSR Committee finds that the person under review has engaged in inappropriate practice, the findings will be reported to the Determining Authority to decide what action should be taken:

(i) a reprimand;

(ii) counselling;

(iii) repayment of Medicare benefits; and/or

(iv) complete or partial disqualification from Medicare benefit arrangements for up to three years. 

Further information is available from the PSR website - 


  • Assist - Addition/Deletion of (Assist.)
  • Amend - Amended Description
  • Anaes - Anaesthetic Values Amended
  • Emsn - EMSN Change
  • Fee - Fee Amended
  • Renum - Item Number Change (renumbered)
  • New - New Item
  • NewMin - New Item (previous Ministerial Determination)
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