The Five Biggest My Health Dramas Of The Week
It's been another week of bodyblows to the Federal Government's controversial My Health records system.
Doctors, police and government at odds over privacy and access to health information.
Leading doctors have publicly lost faith in the framework, while police and government are at odds over how sensitive information could be accessed.
The supposedly independent parliamentary library published, removed then substantially amended a research paper on how the My Health laws and policies work. General confusion and contradiction reigns over just exactly how it all works.
It's only week two of the opt-out period, and things are just totally upside down. Here are the five biggest My Health dramas of the week.
Police say they can get into records without a warrantSection 70 of the My Health Records Act 2012 says system operators can legally disclose health information if it is "reasonably necessary" to prevent or investigate crimes, or for "the protection of public revenue" -- but little has been detailed about what circumstances that would apply.
The Australian Digital Health Agency has been in damage control over media reports stating health records could be accessed in criminal investigations, claiming it "has not and will not release any documents without a court/coronial or similar order" -- in contradiction to the actual law.
"Additionally, no other Government agencies have direct access to the My Health Record system, other than the system operator," the ADHA told ten daily.
However, police beg to differ.
"The mere investigation of a criminal offence or breach of law... are legitimate grounds for investigators to access your My Health record", the QLD Police Union told its members this week.
The boss of the Australian Police Federation, Mark Burgess, also said "the reality is that you don’t need a warrant".
Despite the ADHA and Hunt citing internal department policy outlining that a warrant or other order would be needed to access the information, police say that is not the case.
Parliamentary library pieceAdding further confusion to the situation, the federal parliamentary library -- which provides advice to provides services to politicians, their staff and the staff of parliamentary departments -- published a piece on its website advising that, by its interpretation of law, police could access My Health records without a warrant.
This was reported widely this week, but the article soon disappeared from the internet. That occurred after a complaint from the health department.
"The Department of Health contacted the Library raising concerns about potential omissions in the Flagpost on the My Health record," a spokesperson for the library told ten daily.
"The Library takes seriously its obligation to provide high quality information and analysis and I decided to take the post down while it is reviewed and also updated to reflect recent developments."
The article reappeared on Thursday night, heavily edited and missing several sections including a claim the My Health legislation "represents a significant reduction in the legal threshold for the release of private medical information to law enforcement."
(Compare the original and edited versions)
The library said in a note at the top of the edited article that changes had been made "to reflect developments since its original publication."
Here is the link to the other 3 topics - all myHR related.
Great summary of a messy week!