Health Bulletin July 28, 2022 | health law


The latest information from our Health Law team:

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Fraudulent pharmacist sentenced to six years in prison

On June 17, 2022, a former pharmacist was sentenced in Sydney Downing Center District Court to over six years in prison for falsely claiming benefits under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBSlisten)) as part of a conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth. The pharmacist conspired to claim more than $19 million from the PBS.

The former NSW pharmacist was sentenced to 6 years and 4 months’ imprisonment, with a period without parole of 4 years.

The conviction is the result of collaboration between the Department of Health (department), the Australian Federal Police and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, following information received through the Department’s helpline.

In a statement, the ministry said it “takes allegations of fraud and non-compliance by healthcare providers very seriously” and that it “recognizes that the overwhelming majority of healthcare providers are aware of and adhere to their obligations to claim benefits honestly and correctly.”

For more information, see the Department’s press release here.

Increase in Professional Boundary Notifications – AHPRA Annual Report 2020/21

AHPRA’s 2020-2021 report provided updates on breaches of professional boundaries with patients. Notifications of violations are assessed and reviewed against the recommendations of the relevant National Council. Code of conduct. Border violations came in many different forms. For example, comments made by practitioners to patients during consultations or online.

The number of notifications received increased significantly, from 464 to 568 notifications. The notifications came from three main professions:

  • Medical practitioners (53.2%)
  • Nurses (19.5%)
  • Psychologists (10.7%)

The severity and high risk profile of limit violation notifications was reflected in AHPRA considering immediate action 258 times and taking immediate action 161 times. AHPRA closed 53.5% of these boundary violation cases upon investigation, 34.5% upon assessment, and 9.2% upon referral to court, reflecting the seriousness of the violations. notices.

For more information, you can access the annual report or consult the summaries of the different areas here.

Pharmaceutical company targeted by major infringement notices for failing to meet COVID-19 rapid antigen test requirements

The Administration of Therapeutic Goods (TGA) issued eight infringement notices to Hough Pharma Pty Ltd totaling $106,560 for failing to comply with the Therapeutic Products Act 1989 (Cth) (Law).

This law requires sponsors of TGA-approved medical devices to provide evidence demonstrating the safety and performance of their products, in this case COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests (Rats). The ultimate goal of the law is to ensure that medical devices work as intended and are safe for users. It is also required that sponsors have an operational hotline to provide customer support services from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (AEST).

Through investigation, the TGA has verified that there is a lack of customer support available to consumers of Hough Pharma’s products. This, along with Hough Pharma not meeting deadlines for providing information, is why they have received multiple infringement notices.

This compliance action reminds companies producing therapeutic goods to take their obligations seriously. For more information, you can read the full Department of Health press release here.

OPAN launches “Ready to Listen” campaign

The Advocacy Network for the Elderly (NAPO) in partnership with Celebrate Aging Ltd and the Older Women’s Network NSW launched its ready to listen campaign in June, encouraging people to listen to older people when they report sexual assault.

An estimated 50 people, many with dementia, are sexually assaulted in Australian nursing homes every week. OPAN suggests that the testimony of people with dementia may be considered unreliable by service providers and investigating authorities.

OPAN CEO Craig Gear noted that the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission’s latest sector performance report identified 530 cases of unlawful sexual behavior or inappropriate sexual behavior during the three months to December 2021, noting that the sector has seen little improvement since the recent Royal Commission on Aged Care delivered its findings.

The ready to listen The campaign outlines ten ways residential elder care service providers can improve their responses and prevent sexual assault. Campaign resources can be accessed here.

To talk to someone about the risk of abuse in aged care homes, call OPAN on 1800 700 600 or Elder Abuse on 1800ELDERHELP. To learn more about the campaign launch, click here.

NDIS 2022-23 Tariff Provisions and Price Limits

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) released its updated National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Tariff Provisions and Price Limits 2022-23 (NDIS Tariff Provisions) on June 22, 2022, which became effective on July 1, 2022.

As part of the new NDIS pricing agreements, price limits for most NDIS aids provided by disability support workers will increase by 9%. The decision, made largely in light of the financial impact of COVID-19, the Fair Work Commission’s 2022 annual salary review and the increased superannuation guarantee burden, should help retain workers with disabilities and promote participant outcomes more effectively.

The NDIA has also committed up to $514 million for distribution among registered providers of activities of daily living and community participant support. Delivered as a one-time payment calculated by the NDIA, suppliers have 28 days to accept payment and commit to undertaking an audit to demonstrate that the amount received matches the actual costs incurred.

NDIS 2022-23 Pricing Agreements and Price Limits can be downloaded here.

Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS) Devices Market

Minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIG) The device market was valued at US$298.75 million in 2020 and is expected to generate US$5 billion by 2030, according to Allied Market Research.

Following the Australian government’s approval of MIGS as a stand-alone procedure in 2020, the growth of the MIGS devices market, especially in the Asia-Pacific region between 2022 and 2030, is expected to be led by Australia.

GlobalData released its Glaucoma Surgery Devices Market Analysis and Forecast on April 28, 2022, forecasting a compound annual growth rate of 9% for MIGS in Australia by 2030. It indicated that the key drivers of this growth include the aging Australian population, government-led initiatives and an increase in patient awareness of MIGS.

An overview of Allied Market Research’s MIGS report can be viewed here, and an overview of GlobalData’s Glaucoma Surgery Devices market analysis can be viewed here.

Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Telehealth Services – July 2022 Update

On June 30, 2022, the federal government removed various telehealth specialty telephone items from the Medicare Schedule of Benefits (MBS). The relevant elements mainly have an impact on the provision of consultation services to patients with complex and chronic diseases, the elderly and children with autism.

Several medical schools have called the move a setback for health care, noting that reducing flexible forms of medical care may worsen existing inequalities suffered by the elderly, some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, some people with disabilities and some members of rural and remote communities.

Information about changes to the MBS as of July 1, 2022 can be viewed here and here.

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