Quote Of The Year

Timeless Quotes - Sadly The Late Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"


H. L. Mencken - "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Legislative Alert – Health Identifier Service Bill Listed For Debate Monday, June 21, 2010

Under the Orders for the Day for the Senate (which sits at 12.30pm) we find the following as Item 7.
7. Healthcare Identifiers Bill 2010
Healthcare Identifiers (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2010—(Minister for Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Water, Senator Wong)
Second reading—Adjourned debate (15 March 2010).
Just when debate will actually happen is a little hard to tell at this point as before it we have substantial legislation on Renewable Energy, Welfare Quarantining, Telstra Separation and the Preventive Health Agency.
There are a total of 37 items to be debated so the HI Service seems to be close to the top of the list.
See all the details here:
For those who are keen you can watch a video feed and also see an updating page on the progress of debate (the Senate Red).
I note the Australian Financial Review is reporting some last minute negotiations.

Roxon backs down in e-health battle

Health Minister Nicola Roxon has offered the opposition a raft of concessions in a last-ditch push to get the government’s troubled electronic health identifier legislation passed in the Senate next week.
The article suggests that the key concessions to be placed in legislation are in the areas of who is to operate the HI Service (Medicare Australia) and what uses can be made of the Identifier (limited to health sector).
However the Opposition has some other amendments which relate to the split between legislation and regulations and they are apparently saying they will insist on those before passage of the legislation.
AFR Page 52 June 18, 2010
It will be interesting to see what changes emerge.
It seems clear there are still some concerns out there.
Privacy groups want health identifier clarity
By Josh Taylor, ZDNet.com.au on June 18th, 2010
Ahead of the scheduled 1 July start date for the introduction of individual healthcare identifiers, the Australian Privacy Foundation has slammed the Federal Government for its lack of communication around the Individual Healthcare Identifier Bill.
With just one parliamentary sitting week left to get the Bill through the Senate before 1 July, Australian Privacy Foundation's chair of the health sub committee Dr Juanita Fernando said the lack of communication surrounding the planned implementation was a cause for concern.
"We find it appalling that the national government has offered no coherent analysis, architecture or governance framework for the Health Identifiers Bill currently before the Senate," Fernando said.
Earlier this month, Health Minister Nicola Roxon announced a number of changes to the Healthcare Identifiers Bill including clarifications around how healthcare organisations would communicate with the Health Identifiers Service, but according to Fernando, this was not enough.
"The evidence suggests that some health authorities may actually be misinforming Australian consumers and patients as well," Fernando said, adding the Australian Privacy Foundation believed the identifiers were the first step to a new national ID.
More here:
We are in for an interesting week no matter what happens.

Late News - 6pm 20 June.

Apparently Tuesday Afternoon is the probable timing of the debate. We will wait and see.


Anonymous said...

In that "Roxon backdown" article, one of the major sticking points seems to have been governance of Identifiers. It says Medicare has been named as the service provider for Identifiers, in order to remove the possibility of private operators taking it over.
Stretching the bow a little, that move (to cement in Medicare as the service provider) could have been possible only with the consent, if not the instigation, of the department Head.
So, it's interesting to see Ms Halton featured favourably in that same edition of AFR. No doubt, she nurtures the hope of being head of PMC in the future, no matter who is in government. If it's the Coalition, she'd be a walk-up start for the top job. If it's still Labor, maybe she has atoned for past sins by being instrumental in shepherding some of the foolish e-health proposals off the agenda.
The view of this rank outsider is that the Identifier service should be closely engaged with at least three other ministries - A-G, Human Services and Immigration.
It seems very strange that the key point of Weisbrot's 'Electronic Privacy' inquiry - harmonisation of the IPPs and NPPs to a set of Unified Privacy Principles - has dropped out of sight. Oh, well.

Anonymous said...

"The view of this rank outsider is that the Identifier service should be closely engaged with at least three other ministries - A-G, Human Services and Immigration."

..Hi, just what does "engaged" mean in this context? I would be fearful of any "engagement" strategy that afforded the privacy and tin-foil hat brigade to de-rail something as important as this - FWIW, Healthcare Identifiers should remain uncontaminated from any other government identity need or use....

Anonymous said...

... Fernando said, adding the Australian Privacy Foundation believed the identifiers were the first step to a new national ID.

Where does the Australian Privacy Foundation get this belief? Is it that every new identifier is a step, or is it founded on something concrete? Have they made specific suggestions as to amendments that could increase the protections? Or are they just spreading FUD?