An important update on the My Health Record legislation.
The My Health Records Amendment (Strengthening Privacy) Bill (MHR) has now passed through the Senate. While it has yet to pass the House of Representatives, it represents a significant improvementto current MHR legislation.
The MHR amendments ultimately contained a number of significant improvements to the Government’s originally proposed changes to the MHR system, including some major wins for workers. Through the work of the union movement and in conjunction with the ALP, the legislation has been amended to ensure that all of the most serious issues identified by the ACTU and our affiliates as part of the recent consultations and Senate inquiry have been addressed. The issues addressed include:
- Preventing employers and insurers requiring the disclosure of MHR information by employees.
- Preventing the use of MHR information for the purposes of hiring or continuing to employ someone or for use for insurance purposes, including workers compensation.
- Ensuring that the MHR system cannot be privatised or operated by a private provider.
- Stronger protections against the use of MHR data for statistical purposes, particularly preventing insurers from using the data.
- Emphasising the ability to request the complete deletion of a MHR at any time.
- Further strengthening protections for people suffering from domestic violence.
The Government has also been forced to extend the ‘opt out’ period again until 31 January 2019.
These changes would not have occurred were it not for the work of the Australian union movement. Through this work we have ensured that all Australian workers can use an integrated health record system if they so choose without having to accept unacceptable infringements of their employment rights or breaches of their right to privacy.
For more information on the details of the amendments made to the legislation, please see HERE.