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"Unexplained doctor."

About: Austin Hospital

(as the patient),

I attended Austin Hospital Outpatient Clinic on several occasions during my patient journey and noticed a strange anomaly in the medicare billing process. Each time I was asked to sign the medicare form it had the same doctor's name on it even though I never saw a doctor by that name at any point. I saw many different doctors over the course of my patient journey from emergency right through to the last outpatient appointment.

On two different occasions at outpatients I asked the attending doctor about this. The first doctor I asked suggested I ask the ward clerk. The ward clerk said it was the name of the referring doctor. When I said that was not the case she asked if it was my GP's name, to which I replied in the negative. She then appeared puzzled and said she'd look into it. Needless to say, I did not receive any further update.

On the second occasion I asked another doctor who left the room to ask someone he thought would know. He returned and said it was the referring doctor and again I said that was not the case because there was no referring doctor. My patient journey started in emergency. He then said it would have been the name of the emergency doctor, to which I replied again in the negative. The name did not match any of the doctors I saw at that time.

He gave up at that point and said he did not know the answer and maybe the ward clerk could help. I said I had already tried that route unsuccessfully.

I am surprised that such an important part of doctors' work and Austin's business is not understood by the clinicians and cannot be explained by anyone in outpatients. It appears that our health system is being dishonest. We are expected to trust that hospitals are being run ethically but this experience at Austin Health makes me question if this is a reasonable expectation.

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