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Woman banned from registering as a paramedic after being jailed for Medicare-related fraud

31 Aug 2023

A woman jailed for Medicare-related fraud has been reprimanded and disqualified from registering as a paramedic.

In August 2021 in the District Court of Western Australia Carina Calvert pleaded guilty to obtaining financial advantage from the Commonwealth by dishonestly claiming Medicare benefits totaling nearly $70,000.

Ms Calvert was sentenced to two years and six months’ imprisonment, to be released on a good behaviour order after serving nine months.

She was also ordered to pay back the $69,767.16 she stole by making hundreds of fraudulent Medicare claims while working as an office manager/receptionist in a psychology practice in 2016 and 2017.

Before her crimes were detected, Ms Calvert completed a university degree in Paramedical Science and in late 2020 she obtained registration with the Paramedicine Board of Australia (the Board) to work as a paramedic.

She was charged by summons in February 2021 and failed to alert the Board of the charges within seven days as required under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law. She also failed to alert the Board within seven days of her subsequent conviction as required under the National Law.

When Ms Calvert advised the Board in September 2021, the Board took immediate action to suspend her registration, which meant she was unable to work as a paramedic for about 12 months after being released from prison.

The Board referred the case to the State Administrative Tribunal (WA), which ruled that Ms Calvert engaged in professional misconduct in that she:

  • has been convicted of two counts of obtaining a financial advantage from the Commonwealth by deception, and

  • failed to notify the Paramedicine Board of Australia within seven days that she had been charged with, and that she had been convicted of, the crimes.

The tribunal ordered that Ms Calvert be reprimanded, that her registration as a paramedic be cancelled and that she be disqualified from applying for registration as a paramedic for a period of one year from the date of the order on 27 April 2023.

The tribunal noted that the disqualification period had been calculated to take into account the period of time that Ms Calvert has been unable to work as a paramedic since her release from prison due to the immediate action taken by the Board.

The decision also took into account that, prior to her imprisonment, Ms Calvert had completed more than 8,000 hours of volunteer work with St John Ambulance.

The tribunal’s full decision is available on Austlii.

 
 
Page reviewed 31/08/2023