12 June 2018
The Department of Human Services is currently implementing the recommendations of the Independent Review of Health Providers’ access to Medicare Card Numbers progressively in the coming twelve months. The review was commissioned in July 2017 in response to claims that Medicare card details were sold on the internet.
Further information on the review, including the final report and Government response, is available at: www.humanservices.gov.au
The strengthened security check is in relation to Recommendation 14, which states:
‘It is recommended that, during the phasing down of the telephone channels, conditions for the security check for the release or confirmation of Medicare card information by telephone should be strengthened, with additional security questions having to be answered correctly by health professionals or their delegates.’
In line with Recommendation 14 of the Review, the current security check when accessing patient Medicare card information through the provider enquiry line has been strengthened. An additional security question is being asked to increase provider security and protection of patient information. The existing requirement for administrative staff to be authorised to access patient verification information on behalf of a provider remains as is. As such, requiring administrative staff to confirm provider information further safeguards patient information and misrepresentations for a provider.
Please note that the strengthened security check is only in relation to the patient verification service, and all other security checks via the telephone have remained the same.
Accessing patient Medicare card details through the telephony channel is only one avenue for providers and administrative staff to access patient verification information. This is the first stage of a broader direction to provide greater security, which in time includes the gradual phasing down of the telephone channel and a shift to Health Professional Online Services as the primary channel for patient verification requests (Recommendation 13).
HPOS available on the Department’s website provides a secure platform and access to real time patient verification services, without the need to contact the Department. For more information on HPOS go to the Department’s website at www.humanservices.gov.au.