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Price welcomes further amendments to My Health Record

Federal Member for Durack and Minister for the Environment Melissa Price welcomed the Federal Government’s introduction of further legislative amendments to the My Health Record system to ensure the safety and privacy of information.

Minister Price said the government has listened to concerns raised by a variety of groups and My Health Record users and will move the following amendments to Labor’s original legislation to further strengthen the My Health Record Act.

Increase penalties for improper use of a My Health Record:

  • Maximum criminal penalty increasing from two years to five years jail
  • Increase of maximum fines for individuals from $126,000 to $315,000
  • Strengthening provisions to safeguard against domestic violence. The proposed provisions will ensure that a person cannot be the authorised representative of a minor if they have restricted access to the child, or may pose a risk to the child, or a person associated with the child. In cases where there may be a risk to a person’s life, health or safety then the amendments will remove the requirement for the Australian Digital Health Agency to notify individuals about certain decisions.
  • Prohibiting an employer from requesting and using health information in an individual’s My Health Record and protecting employees and potential employees from discriminatory use of their My Health Record. Importantly, employers or insurers cannot simply avoid the prohibition by asking the individuals to share their My Health Record information with them
  • No health information or de-identified data to be released to private health insurers, and other types of insurers for research or public health purposes.
  • The proposed amendments also reinforce that the My Health Record system is a critical piece of national health infrastructure operating for the benefit of all Australians, by removing the ability of the System Operator to delegate functions to organisations other than the Department of Health and the Chief Executive of Medicare.

A review will be conducted into whether it is appropriate for parents to have default access to the records of 14-17 year-olds. Currently they can remove their parents’ access to their record.

Minister Price said amendments passed the lower house in July and these amendments are in addition to those.

“The July amendments included that law enforcement agencies can only access a person’s My Health Record with a warrant or court order; and that anyone who wishes to cancel a My Health Record at any time will have that record permanently deleted,” the Minister said.

“The legislation to enable My Health Record to become an opt-out system passed the Parliament in 2015 and received the unanimous support of both houses and the strong endorsement of Labor.”

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