24 Feb 2022
A Victorian General Practitioner has been reprimanded and had conditions imposed on his registration after a tribunal found he had engaged in inappropriate practice under the Health Insurance Act 1973 (Cth), failed to keep adequate clinical records and provided substandard patient care.
Dr Constantin Jigau self-notified to the Medical Board of Australia (the Board) in October 2018 after receiving a determination from a Professional Services Review process (the Review) under the Health Insurance Act 1973 (Cth) (the Act). The Act regulates the rendering and payment of Medicare benefits for medical professional services. It provides for the Medicare Benefits Schedule, with set fees payable for defined services.
The Review found that Dr Jigau had engaged in inappropriate practice and had not kept adequate records during a 12-month period in 2014-15. Dr Jigau was reprimanded, counselled and disqualified from rendering certain Medicare benefits for a period of 18 months. He was also ordered to repay Medicare approximately $375,000.
The Board referred Dr Jigau to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) in September 2020. The Board alleged that Dr Jigau had engaged in professional misconduct by engaging in inappropriate practice under the Act, failing to keep adequate clinical records, including failing to show consent had been obtained, and risks or complications of procedures had been explained. The Board also alleged that Dr Jigau had prescribed medications and ordered tests without adequate documented clinical justification, including prescribing of drugs of dependency.
The tribunal found Dr Jigau’s conduct was substantially below the standard reasonably expected of a registered health practitioner of an equivalent level of training or experience, which had ‘significant implications for the safety and efficacy of patient care’.
The tribunal noted Dr Jigau had admitted to the misconduct and had already put in place measures – or built on existing measures – to improve his practice, including transitioning to electronic medical records, and employing additional supporting staff at his practice. It also noted that the original conduct had occurred six-seven years ago and that there had been delays in the findings beyond Dr Jigau’s control.
On 11 January 2022, the tribunal ordered Dr Jigau be reprimanded and conditions be placed on his registration. The conditions state that Dr Jigau must submit to an audit of his practice and be mentored by another health practitioner on clinical record keeping, to ensure the improvements he has made are consolidated and maintained. The conditions will be reviewed after 18 months.
The tribunal's full decision is available on the AustLII website.