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Health ID Legislation Passes

HEALTHCARE PRIVACY—AUSTRALIA

June 25, 2010

Australia Health Minister Nicola Roxon has announced the passage of legislation authorizing Medicare Australia to start issuing patients with individual 16-digit identifier numbers beginning July 1. ZDNet reports the identifiers will contain "just enough information to identify a person, although each patient can determine whether or not they use it to create a personal e-health record." The legislation had been amended due to concerns raised about privacy implications. "Healthcare identifiers are a key building block of the government's plans to invest $466.7 million over the next two years to revolutionize healthcare delivery through the introduction of personally controlled electronic health records," Roxon said in a statement released Thursday evening. The Australian Privacy Foundation is among those who have raised concerns over the introduction of the identifiers, the report states.
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