Media Release: Government welcomes Medicare number review findings

14 October 2017

The Hon Alan Tudge MP

Minister for Human Services

The Hon Greg Hunt MP

Minister for Health

The Australian Government has welcomed the final report by the Independent Review of Health Providers’ Access to Medicare Card Numbers and supports in-principle its 14 recommendations.

The review, announced in July, was led by Professor Peter Shergold AC together with the President of the AMA, Dr Michael Gannon represented by Dr Kean-Seng Lim and the President of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Dr Bastian Seidel.

The review considered the balance between appropriate access to Medicare card numbers for health professionals and the security of patients’ Medicare card numbers. It makes a number of findings and recommendations for practical improvements to the security of Medicare numbers without increasing the administrative burden on medical practitioners.

The review confirmed that access to an individual’s Medicare card number does not, in itself, allow access to any clinical information, Medicare claiming information or to an individual’s My Health Record and the panel could not find any evidence of this occurring.

The panel scrutinised 24 submissions and conducted 16 stakeholder meetings as part of its review. It also considered public submissions and evidence provided to the separate Senate Inquiry into the sale of Medicare information on the dark web where they related to the terms of reference for this review.

The Government thanks Professor Shergold AC, Dr Gannon, Dr Seidel and Dr Lim for their work on the review. The Government will now work with the health sector and other stakeholders to develop a detailed response to the report, to be released by the end of the year.

The final report is available at: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/organisations/health-professionals/subjects/independent-review-health-providers-access-medicare-card-numbers