The following release appeared a little while ago.
ANDREW SOUTHCOTT MP
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Health Services, Health and Wellbeing
Federal Member for Boothby
Roxon Masters the Backflip and Backdown
02 June 2010
The Coalition welcomes the decision of the Rudd Labor Government to adopt some of the amendments put forward by the Coalition on the Healthcare Identifiers legislation.
This is an admission by the Rudd Government that their initial legislation was too broad and too loose.
“We’ve come to expect little more than policy on the run from this Government”, Andrew Southcott said.
The Coalition’s amendments aim to improve privacy of information and protect against function creep, by enshrining provisions on the use of healthcare identifiers within the legislation, as opposed to the regulatory approach previously favoured by the Government. Whilst the Government has attempted to address these concerns, they have failed to adopt some of the other key amendments put forward by the Coalition. These are outlined below:
· ‘The requirements for assigning a Healthcare Identifier to a healthcare provider or to a healthcare recipient shall be prescribed in the Bill as a schedule’;
· confirming the operator of the health identifying service could only be changed by legislation;
· There is no guarantee of a right of appeal or review under section 9 of the proposed legislation. This is a serious omission; and
· deleting the provisions which allows the health identifier to be released if allowed under any other law.
We are pleased Labor has adopted some of our amendments, however, the Coalition will still proceed to move and insist on any amendments the Government hasn’t addressed.
Good to see some talking is actually happening on all this.
Here is the Government Press Release:
2 June 2010
The draft regulations for the national healthcare identifiers have been revised and the Government will propose amendments to the Healthcare Identifiers Bill to respond to issues raised during public consultation.
The amendments will make the legislation safer and more secure and increase parliamentary oversight of the Healthcare Identifiers Service.
The changes to the proposed regulations will provide:
- greater clarity for healthcare organisations in how they would liaise with the new Healthcare Identifiers Service;
- streamlined administrative requirements for healthcare providers that would maintain appropriate processes, monitoring and enforce penalties for unauthorised access; and
- a new right-of-review provision for healthcare providers without healthcare identifiers in relation to some decisions.
In proposing amendments to the Healthcare Identifiers Bill and regulations, the Government has considered recommendations by coalition members of the Senate Community Affairs Committee and the changes specifically address two of these recommendations.
The first proposed change will give increased parliamentary oversight of the Healthcare Identifiers Service, ensuring that any change to Medicare Australia’s role can only be made through legislation.
The second will create more flexible arrangements for review of the assignment of identifiers to some healthcare providers.
Other Coalition recommendations would make it difficult for the Healthcare Identifiers Service to operate or are contrary to the intent of the legislation and have not been adopted.
The Government will also propose an amendment to the Bill to enable information management services that are contracted to support healthcare providers to continue to provide those services but within the strict security and privacy protections of the new system.
The legislation has strong provisions to restrict the use of healthcare identifiers. No uses of the identifiers will be permitted other than those set out in the Bill. Any additional uses would require changes to the legislation, providing strong protection against ‘function creep’.
More on the DoHA Site