The HCC has received 26 complaints relating to private drug and alcohol rehabilitation services since starting on 1 February 2017.

Health Complaints Commissioner Karen Cusack said the issues most commonly raised in these complaints were exploitative billing practices - sometimes involving treatments costing up to $30,000 - and a lack of informed consent for financial and treatment decisions. Concerns about the safety and effectiveness of treatments, cleanliness of facilities and inappropriate discharge of patients have also been raised.

“We have been engaging with service providers to follow up on these complaints and to resolve outstanding matters wherever possible, with several of these cases ongoing,” Ms Cusack said.

“Due to our concerns regarding service quality at several private drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinics we are monitoring complaint issues closely across this sector.”

The Commissioner said it was important all general health service providers - meaning those not regulated by the Australian Health Pracitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) - understood their obligations under the general code of conduct, which took effect on 1 February, 2017.

This code outlines the standards of safe and ethical healthcare and provides grounds for a complaint and possible further action, if breached, for incidents occurring since the code took effect. 

“If anyone has a complaint about private drug and alcohol rehabilitation services or other healthcare received in Victoria, please contact my office.