Privacy Law and Policy Reporter
Australian Privacy Commissioner - Medicare and Pharmaceutical Benefits Programs Privacy Guidelines 1994 (Annotated Version) (incorporating amendments of 22 February 1994), June 1994 The Guidelines, issued under s135AA of the National Health Act 1953 (Cth), are the legally binding rules for the handling by Federal agencies of claims information collected under the Medicare and Pharmaceutical Benefits Programs. A breach of the Guidelines is an ''interference with privacy' under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).
Originally issued on 24 November 1993 (see 1 PLPR 34 for a summary), amendments to the Guidelines issued on 22 February PLPR 34 for a summary), amendments to the Guidelines issued on 22 February 1994 (Government Gazette GN9 9 March 1994) came into effect on 13 May 1994. This publication incorporates the amendments and annotations by the Commissioner, and is therefore the most useful version of the Guidelines.
The effect of the amendments is that new Guideline 4 allows the Health Insurance Commission to obtain old claims information (that is, held for at least 5 years) held by the Department of Human Services and Health, where the Commission needs the information to complete various types of claims and investigations (the Commission normally destroys information held five years after receipt Guideline 3).
Other consequential amendments require the Commission and the Department to keep records of such disclosures.
The Commissioner proposes to review the Guidelines after 12 months operation and invites submissions over this period.