NA­TION BREACH SPARKS RE­VIEW

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

A MA­JOR re­view of the se­cu­rity of Medicare card de­tails be­ing made avail­able on­line to pri­vate health providers has been an­nounced by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment.

Hu­man Ser­vices Min­is­ter Alan Tudge and Health Min­is­ter Greg Hunt have is­sued a joint state­ment say­ing the re­view fol­lows rev­e­la­tions of a pos­si­ble breach of Medicare records.

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has been forced to con­tact “dozens” of Aus­tralians whose Medicare card num­bers were il­le­gally sold on the dark web.

It’s be­lieved some­one breached the se­cu­rity sur­round­ing Medicare de­tails, po­ten­tially ex­pos­ing Aus­tralians to fraud. Fed­eral po­lice are now in­ves­ti­gat­ing the “tra­di­tional crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity”.

“We re- em­pha­sise that a Medicare card num­ber alone does not pro­vide ac­cess to any med­i­cal or clin­i­cal records,” yes­ter­day’s state­ment reads.

But the Fed­eral Gov­ern- ment con­cedes Medicare cards and num­bers have long been a pri­or­ity tar­get for crim­i­nals.

“This re­view will iden­tify op­tions to im­prove the se­cu­rity of Medicare num­bers while con­tin­u­ing to sup­port the ac­ces­si­bil­ity of med­i­cal care,” the state­ment says.

“The re­view will com­mence im­me­di­ately and will re­port by 30 Septem­ber, 2017.”

On­line ac­cess to Medicare de­tails was of­fered to health providers in 2009 with the in­ten­tion of as­sist­ing hos­pi­tals, fam­ily doc­tors and other health fa­cil­i­ties to bill cus­tomers when they were un­able to present their card.

This ac­cess was ex­panded in 2010 to en­able health providers to find a Medicare num­ber with a search of name and date of birth.

“The Gov­ern­ment wants to en­sure that there is in­creased se­cu­rity in a sys­tem which is im­por­tant to both pa­tients and doc­tors,” the Gov­ern­ment state­ment said.

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