12/04/2012 10:25 EST | Updated 02/03/2013 05:12 EST

New Brunswick auditor general raises questions about payments to doctors

FREDERICTON - New Brunswick's auditor general is raising questions about the amount of money being paid to doctors in the province.

Kim MacPherson says medicare expenditures for 2011 were more than $553 million, but only 53 per cent of medicare payments to doctors were audited.

MacPherson told a committee of the legislature today that all payments should be audited.

She says 16 New Brunswick doctors received more than $1 million each from medicare last year, including an ophthalmologist who received over $1.6 million.

New Brunswick Medical Society CEO Anthony Knight says the figures don't account for just each doctor's salary, but rather they represent other costs as well, including the purchase of equipment.

MacPherson says in some cases, doctors bill both medicare and WorkSafeNB, which oversees workers' compensation in the province, for the same service.

She says there are no ramifications for overcharging medicare even though the Health Department has the power to revoke a doctor's billing privileges.

Health Minister Hugh Flemming says he just got the report but will look at the issues being raised and ensure they are addressed.