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DVA committed to protecting veterans' privacy.



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Minister for Veterans' Affairs Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence

Friday, 27 October 2006 VA123

DVA COMMITTED TO PROTECTING VETERANS’ PRIVACY

It is disappointing that Opposition veterans’ affairs spokesman Alan Griffin has resorted to baseless scaremongering in regards to the handling of veterans’ personal medical information by my department, the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Bruce Billson said today.

Mr Billson said the Department of Veterans’ Affairs treated the privacy of veterans very seriously and had stringent provisions in place to ensure personal information was handled appropriately.

Since the introduction of the ECLIPSE DVA electronic claims system for GPs who treat veterans and war widows, in October 2005, DVA has received no complaints from veterans and there has not been a single privacy breach.

Some GPs have raised issues about the promptness of payments under the system and felt the amount of patient information they had to provide to have claims paid was time consuming and that some information was considered medical-in-confidence.

As a result the Department sought feedback from its Local Medical Officer Advisory Committee (LMOAC) and a decision was made to revise the information requirements to ensure they were restricted to the minimum number of elements that were required in order to accurately pay a claim for treatment provided.

“Issues that have been raised by GPs have been promptly addressed and it is disappointing that Mr Griffin is not only well behind the eight ball, but has resorted to scaremongering as a substitute for his inability to stay on top of veterans' policy issues,” Mr Billson said.

From November 1, a medical service provider will only need to give sufficient information on a White Card holder for the Department to ensure that the treatment relates to the veteran's accepted disability. The information requirements will be even less for Gold Card holders, where DVA accepts responsibility for all treatment costs.

“Australian taxpayers meet the full cost of the provision of health care to veterans. It is important that the Australian Government is in a position to be able to assure taxpayers that their money is being appropriately spent. Any information that is sought by the Department is on this basis and this basis only,” Mr Billson said.

Media inquiries: Cameron Hill 0408 239 521