The AGPA has received an update from the pathology rents section of the DoH.
Enforcement of the Prohibited Practices Provisions
The Department will also send out a further round of request for information (RFI) letters in May to lessors of Approved Collection Centres (ACCs) that are exhibiting concerning behaviours under the Act. In addition to the RFI letters, the Department will be sending out education letters that highlight lessors exhibiting slightly concerning behaviours.
The Department continues to review the information received from lessors to determine if there is concerning behaviour which warrants further investigation. The Department has now advised over 300 lessors that no further action will be taken at this time.
AGPA notes that since October 2018, over 700 General Practices have received RFI letters.
Legal Proceedings Instigated Against Pathology Company
On 9 February 2021, in line with the Department’s measured approach to enforcing the prohibited practices provisions of the Health Insurance Act 1973 (Cth) (the Act), the Department instituted civil proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against Specialist Diagnostic Services Pty Ltd (SDS). It is alleged that SDS contravened section 23DZZIL(1) of the Act. The alleged contraventions relate to leases for Pathology Approved Collection Centres (ACCs) located at Castle Hill and Kingswood in NSW. It is alleged that the rent SDS agreed to pay under each of the relevant lease agreements was not a permitted benefit within the meaning of section 23DZZIF of the Act. The Department is seeking declarations, pecuniary penalties and costs.