Data accuracy problems which resulted in family doctors
being overpaid by about $90,000 last year have been addressed,
the Southern District Health Board says.
The issue was referred to in a section on primary healthcare
targets in Audit New Zealand's October report on the board
audit for the last financial year, recently released under
the Official Information Act.
The auditors noted there was concern at the Southern Primary
Health Organisation (PHO) over some aspects of the accuracy
and completeness of results collated and reported by
independent practitioners association South Link Health
These were based on unexpected fluctuations in results and
admission of errors by SLH, resulting in the PHO overpaying
These concerns resulted in the PHO and SLH mutually agreeing
an independent auditor would review SLH's systems and
processes which capture data for the primary healthcare
District health board planning and funding executive director
Sandra Boardman, in an email response to questions on the
issue, said the PHO advised the board of overpayments to
practices and the PHO managed the recovery processes.
''In this instance, repayment was made.''
The issue was underreporting of performance programme data
due to problems extracting the data from some patient
management systems at some practices, she said.
This had now been addressed.
The primary health performance targets involve immunisation
rates, helping smokers to quit and checks for diabetes and
heart health risks.
In more general comments on primary healthcare targets, Audit
NZ said in its work with DHBs it found the boards generally
did not have controls over much of the performance
information from third-party health providers.
Such providers, which include PHOs and other non-governmental
organisations, are not subject to audit by the
''The DHBs have not been able to demonstrate how they know
that they can rely on this third-party performance
information and appear to largely operate on a trust basis.
''As a result, we have not been able to obtain the evidence
needed to be able to express an audit opinion on all the
performance information reported by each DHB.''
They gave the example of the target which includes advising
smokers to quit, which relied on ''information from general
practitioners that we are unable to independently test''.