The management and staff of VCS Foundation appreciate that personal and health information is held by the organisation. VCS Foundation has strict privacy and confidentiality practices in place and all staff are required to abide by these. Violation of these practices by staff will result in serious disciplinary consequences. All persons, who may observe personal and health information held by VCS Foundation are required to, sign a confidentiality statement.

VCS Foundation collects a range of personal and health information about individuals. VCS Foundation may collect this information from the individual or from another person dealing with that individual, such as their doctor. The type of information that VCS Foundation collects and the way in which it may use and disclose that information varies according to the services or activities VCSFoundation provides or undertakes in relation to an individual. The specific details regarding how VCS Foundation manages the information it collects in relation to each of its services, activities and programs are set out in the appropriate privacy statement below. Each statement also provides details regarding how a person may request access to or correction of their information, how to make a complaint about their privacy and how to contact VCS Foundation .

  • The VCS Pathology privacy statement details how VCS manages personal and health information it holds in relation to its pathology laboratory and pathology services.
  • The VCS Population Health privacy statement details how VCS manages personal and health information it holds in relation to the Victorian Cervical Cytology Registry that it manages. Data held by the Victorian Cervical Cytology Registry is under the custodianship of the Department of Health and Human Services in accordance with the Improving Cancer Outcomes Act 2014.  Accordingly Freedom of Information (FOI) requests are managed by the Department – more information can be found at www.health.vic.gov.au/foi.
  • The NHVPR privacy statement details how VCS manages personal and health information it holds in relation to the National HPV Vaccination Program Register that it manages.

VCS does not disclose personal or health information to any individual outside Australia. All personal and health information is managed on the premises of VCS. Backup tapes of the information system and some slides are stored in a secure facility off-site. Where services are contracted out, contractors must comply with VCS privacy and confidentiality requirements.

 

 

 

VCS Pathology Privacy Statement

POLICY ON MANAGEMENT OF PERSONAL AND HEALTH INFORMATION

VCS Pathology is a government funded laboratory primarily responsible for reporting cervical cytology tests. It is operated by VCS Foundation (VCS)

The management and staff of VCS Pathology appreciate that personal and health information is held by the organisation. The organisation has strict confidentiality practices in place and all staff are required to abide by these. All persons who may observe personal and health information held by VCS are required to sign a confidentiality statement.

All information is managed on the premises of VCS. Backup tapes of the information system and some test slides are stored in a secure facility off-site. No personal information is provided to sub-contractors, other than to contracted debt collection agencies.  VCS Pathology does not disclose an individual’s personal or health information to any overseas organisation or person (other than the individual).

How is personal and health information collected?

VCS Pathology collects personal and health information directly from individuals and also from other persons involved in the care or treatment of an individual, such as their health care practitioner that orders their pathology test.

What personal and health information is held?

VCS Pathology holds only information that is relevant to the performance of its work and activities. 

i. The type of personal information and health information that VCS Pathology collects and holds about an individual in respect of whom it conducts a pathology test includes the following: 
ii. Name (current and previous), date of birth, current and previous addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses.
iii. Cultural and linguistic diversity status, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status.
iiii. Medicare Number.
v. The results of all pathology and screening tests performed by VCS Pathology.
vi. In the case of Pap smears reported by VCS Pathology, VCS Pathology may obtain associated colposcopy, histopathology and other relevant pathology results from health practitioners and other laboratories through the cervical screening registries in Australia.

Clinical information provided by the health care practitioner ordering the test and clinical information provided by an individual – this may include a description of current or previous symptoms or health status.

VCS also collects and holds personal information regarding the health care practitioner ordering a pathology test for an individual including the practitioner’s name, address and Medicare Provider Number.

VCS Pathology may also collect personal information about individuals in other circumstances, such as if a person applies for a job with VCS Pathology or otherwise deals or transacts with VCS Pathology.  The type of information VCS Pathology may collect in those circumstances includes: name, address, date of birth, financial details, employment details and telephone numbers.


How is personal and health information used?

VCS Pathology uses the personal and health information it holds about an individual for the following purposes:

1. To provide recommendations for follow up.
2. To perform and to assist in reporting a pathology test that has been ordered.
3. To charge for those services (where appropriate).
4. For research to improve our knowledge, particularly of how to better prevent cancer of the cervix in women. However, no research publication identifies an individual person.
5. To provide statistical data to the Department of Health to support the Victorian Cancer Action Plan 2008 – 2011 (or its replacement) in increasing screening participation rates in specific populations or to provide statistical data to other government bodies and agencies for cancer related purposes.
6. To manage our relationship with clients, employees, employment applicants and service providers.

When is personal and health information disclosed?

VCS Pathology may disclose your personal and health information for the purposes set out in the previous section.  It may also disclose your personal and health information in the following circumstances:

1. To your health care practitioner who ordered the pathology test.
2. At your health care practitioner’s request, to another health care practitioner.
3. At your practitioner’s request, to another laboratory when a further opinion is being sought on a pathology specimen or for a pathology test that has been ordered but which is not performed at VCS Pathology.
4. In accordance with the Health Insurance Act, to Medicare Australia for the purpose of payment for services for bulk-billed tests such as histology, HPV tests and Chlamydia tests.
5. In accordance with the Health Insurance Act, to Medicare Australia to facilitate payments for the Cervical Practice Incentive Program. (See next section).
6. In accordance with section 62 of the Cancer Act, to the Victorian Cervical Cytology Registry for women who reside in Victoria. For women who reside outside of Victoria, information is provided to the relevant Pap Test or Cervical Cancer Screening Register operated by the woman’s home state or territory. Where VCS Pathology is aware that an objection has been lodged to such notification, then no personal or health information is disclosed.
7. In accordance with section 60 of the Cancer Act, to the Victorian Cancer Registry for individuals who reside in Victoria and who are diagnosed with cancer.
8. To your representative (e.g. an authorised representative or lawyer), with your written consent.
9. To our legal advisers and insurers.
10. To the Victorian Department of Health or to another State or Commonwealth government department or agency in connection with the performance of one or more of its functions.

Does my information have to be provided to Medicare Australia for the Cervical Practice Incentive Program?

You have a choice as to whether VCS Pathology discloses your personal information to Medicare Australia for the Cervical Practice Incentive Program (CPIP). Under the CPIP, the Government provides additional money to general practitioners if a certain percentage of their female patients are screened regularly.  The CPIP is run by Medicare Australia. Further information about the CPIP is available on Medicare Australia’s website (www.medicareaustralia.gov.au).

In order for accurate statistics to be available for each general practitioner, VCS Pathology sends information to Medicare Australia about each woman who has a Pap smear reported by VCS Pathology. On a 4 weekly basis, the following information is sent from VCS Pathology to Medicare Australia – name, address, date of birth and Medicare Number.  This is done after a 4 week delay in order to give you time to notify us that you do not want your information sent to Medicare Australia.

If you prefer that your information not be sent by VCS Pathology to Medicare Australia for the CPIP, please notify us by email (directorate@vcs.org.au) or by writing to the following address:

A/Prof. Marion Saville
VCS Foundation
PO Box 178
CARLTON SOUTH VIC 3053.

Even if you decide that you do not want your information to be sent to Medicare Australia for the CPIP, we are still very happy to report your Pap smear and we will continue to offer you our full range of services.

How an individual may obtain access to, or correction of, their health information

Results of pathology tests are normally provided to your health care practitioner who ordered the test.  The best way to get your results is in consultation with your health care provider so that your practitioner can explain your results in the context of your health care.

You may request access to information we hold about you. VCS Pathology is happy to provide an individual with access to their personal and health information at no cost. You may also request correction of your personal and health information.

The following section describes how you may request access to or correction of your information.

1. Your request should be in writing (an application form is available on request) and be addressed to the Executive Director at the contact details set out below.
2. You should provide sufficient identification so that the authenticity of the request can be considered to be satisfactory by the Executive Director of VCS Foundation.
3. Upon lodgement of a request, the Executive Director of VCS Foundation will oversee the process whereby your personal and health information is made available to you, or corrected, subject to the requirements of applicable privacy and health records laws.
4. The personal and health information will be provided in printed form to you or alternatively you may visit the VCS Pathology to personally view your records by appointment.
5. VCS Pathology will ordinarily respond to these requests within 25 working days of receipt of the request.

 

How to make a complaint regarding your privacy?

 If you have any concerns or complaints about the manner in which VCS has handled your personal or health information, please contact us in writing at the below address.  We will endeavour to resolve your complaint promptly and will provide a written response to you. 

 Contact Details for VCS:

 Postal Address:
The Executive Director
Victorian Cytology Service
PO Box 178
Carlton South  VIC  3053

Email: directorate@vcs.org.au
Telephone: 03-9250-0300
Fax: 03-9349-1949

 Alternatively, you may wish to direct your complaint to the Health Services Commissioner.

Contact Details for the Health Services Commissioner:

Postal Address:
Health Services Commissioner
30th Floor
570 Bourke Street
Melbourne  VIC  3000

Email: hsc@health.vic.gov.au
Telephone:1800-136-066

 

 

 

VCS Population Health Privacy Statement

POLICY ON MANAGEMENT OF PERSONAL & HEALTH INFORMATION

VCS Population Health manages a confidential, computerised database of cervical screening test results and related information relevant to cervical screening as part of its registry services “the Registry). The main functions of the Registry are to facilitate the regular participation of women in the National Cervical Screening Program by sending reminder letters when their cervical screening test is overdue, and to provide a safety net for the follow-up of women with abnormal cervical screening test results.

The Registry operates under Victorian legislation and is maintained by VCS Foundation.

The management and staff of VCS who operate the Registry appreciate that personal and health information is held on the Registry.  VCS has strict confidentiality practices in place and all staff are required to abide by these.  All staff and visitors who during the course of their visit may potentially observe personal and health information contained on the Registry sign a confidentiality statement and undergo a police check.

All personal and health information on the Registry is managed on the premises of VCS.  In accordance with prudent business practice, backup tapes of the information system are stored in a secure facility off-site.  No service is contracted out to a third party, other than use of typical utilities such as Australia Post and Telstra.

How is personal and health information collected?

Personal and health information held on the Registry is mainly collected from the pathology laboratory that reported your cervical screening test unless you have elected not to have your details included on the Registry (see Opt-Out section below).  Sometimes information is sought from your health care practitioner to assist the Registry in managing your health record.

Information you provide directly to the Registry such as change of address, may also be entered on your Registry health record.

What personal and health information is held?

Only information relevant to the functions and activities of the Registry is held by VCS in connection with the Registry.

Personal and health information held by VCS on the Registry may include:

Your name (current and previous), date of birth, addresses (current and previous), phone numbers, email addresses, Medicare Number, indigenous status, country of birth, language spoken at home and cervical screening test result.
The name, address and Provider Number of the health care practitioner who ordered or conducted your cervical screening test.
The name and address of the laboratory reporting your Pap test.

The results of further investigations such as colposcopies, biopsies and HPV tests – and other relevant information about your health – may also be recorded on your Registry record as these can affect how often you need cervical screening tests in the future.

How is personal and health information used?

The personal and health information held on the Registry is used by VCS for the following purposes:

1. to provide recommendations for follow up;
2. to assist a pathology laboratory in reporting a current cervical screening test or in their decision about whether or not to issue an amended report on a previously reported cervical screening test;
3. to send reminder letters to women who are overdue for screening;
4. to assist women to receive follow-up care after an abnormal cervical screening test; this may involve communication with the health care practitioner or the woman;
5. to assist pathology laboratories in measuring the quality of their cervical screening test reporting;
6. for research to improve our knowledge, particularly about how to achieve and maintain high participation rates in cervical screening and how to prevent cancer of the cervix in women. However, no research publication will identify an individual person;
7. to inform funding, management, planning, monitoring and evaluation of the Registry and health services.

When is personal and health information disclosed?

VCS may disclose personal and health information on the Registry in the following circumstances:

1. to your health care practitioner (typically a general practitioner, an obstetrician and gynaecologist), or the staff of a pathology laboratory
2. to Medicare Australia for the purpose of providing a follow-up service to women with abnormal cervical screening tests. Specifically, where a woman has left her last known address and has an apparently untreated high-grade abnormality on a cervical screening test or has an abnormal cervical screening test result about which she is unaware, the Registry approaches Medicare Australia for a new address (if known).
3. to the Victorian Cancer Registry or to any other similar cancer registry for women who reside in Victoria and who are diagnosed with cancer.
4. to the representative of a woman (eg an authorised representative or lawyer), with her written consent.

VCS does not disclose an individual’s personal or health information to any overseas organisation or person (other than the individual).

Opting-Out (Exclusion from the Registry)

You may elect to not have your personal and health information recorded on the Registry.  This is commonly referred to as Opting-out.

If you wish to not have your personal and health information recorded on the Registry you should indicate to your health care practitioner, every time you have a cervical screening test that your personal details are not to be forwarded to the Registry.  Your health care practitioner is then required to provide this direction to the pathology laboratory reporting your test.

If your personal and health information is already held by the Registry and you wish to have your details removed, please contact VCS at the details set out below.

You may elect to remain on the Registry but may choose not to receive any personal correspondence, such as reminder letters, from the Registry. If you choose not to receive correspondence, your personal details and health information remain on the Registry and VCS will continue to provide the usual correspondence to your health care practitioners.  You may also request that any Registry correspondence relating to you is sent care of your health care practitioner.  Please contact VCS if you no longer wish to receive correspondence regarding the Registry.

How to obtain access to personal and health information held by the Registry? 

VCS is happy to provide you with access to your personal and health information at no cost.  You may also request correction of your information held on the Registry.

The following section describes how you may request access to or correction of your information.

1. Your request to VCS should be in writing (a form is available on request – Request for Personal Health Records) and addressed to the Executive Director at the contact details set out below.
2. You should provide sufficient identification so that the authenticity of the request can be considered to be satisfactory by VCS.
3. Your personal information may be provided in a summary hard copy form to you or alternatively you may visit VCS to personally view your records.
4. VCS will aim to respond to these requests within 25 working days of receipt of the request.

How to make a complaint about your privacy?

If you have any concerns or complaints about the manner in which VCS has handled your personal or health information, please contact us in writing at the below address.  We will endeavour to resolve your complaint promptly and will provide a written response to you.  Alternatively, you may make a complaint to the Health Services Commissioner (at the details set out below).
(CSR-Pub-27)

CONTACT DETAILS FOR VCS Population Health

Postal Address:
The Medical Director
VCS Population Health
PO Box 161
Carlton South VIC 3053

Telephone: (03) 9250 0399

Fax:(03) 9349 1818

CONTACT DETAILS FOR THE HEALTH SERVICES COMMISSIONER

Postal Address:
Health Services Commissioner
30th Floor
570 Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

Email: hsc@health.vic.gov.au

Telephone: 1800 136 066

 

 

 

National HPV Vaccination Program Register

POLICY ON MANAGEMENT OF PERSONAL & HEALTH INFORMATION

VCS Foundation (VCS) has been contracted by the Commonwealth to establish and manage the National HPV Vaccination Program Register (HPV Register) on the Commonwealth’s behalf. The Register was established under legislation passed in 2007.

The HPV Register is a confidential database that collects information (including personal and health information) about HPV vaccinations given in Australia.

The management and staff of VCS appreciate that personal and health information is held by the organisation. The organisation has strict confidentiality and privacy practices in place and all staff are required to abide by these. Any third party who may potentially have access to the HPV Register is required to sign a confidentiality statement.

All personal information is managed from the premises of VCS or its authorised subcontractors. In accordance with prudent business practice, backup tapes of the information system on which the HPV Register is located are stored in a secure facility off-site. Where any services associated with the HPV Register are subcontracted and the subcontractor may have access to personal information, VCS will ensure that the subcontractor is required to abide by strict privacy requirements in relation to that information.

How personal information is collected?

Information about HPV vaccinations given in schools is provided by state and territory governments to the HPV Register. Information about HPV vaccinations given in the community is provided to the HPV Register by the health professional who gives the vaccination.

What personal information is held?

VCS will only collect and hold personal and health information about an individual which is relevant or related to the performance of its role in maintaining the HPV Register.

The personal information held on the HPV Register may include the name, date of birth, gender, address, indigenous status, school, contact telephone number, and Medicare Number of an individual receiving a vaccination as well as the name, address and Medicare Provider Number of the immunisation provider.

An individual’s HPV vaccination history is the only health information recorded on the Register. This information may include details about when and where the HPV vaccine was administered and what HPV vaccine was administered.

In the case of children*, the name of a parent or guardian may also be recorded on the HPV Register

* A child, for the purposes of the HPV Register is:
<14 yrs in NSW
<16 yrs in SA and NT
<18 yrs in other States and territories

How personal information is used?

The personal and health information held about an individual on the HPV Register is used for the following purposes:

Providing an Immunisation Completion Statement when the course of vaccinations is completed. This is provided to individuals who were vaccinated unless they have elected to Opt-out of correspondence (see Opt-out process below).
Providing an Immunisation History Statement. This is provided to individuals vaccinated through the schools program when a vaccine dose is overdue, unless they have elected to Opt-out of correspondence (see Opt-out process below).
Providing a vaccination Reminder Letter to individuals vaccinated through schools program when a vaccine dose is overdue, unless they have elected to Opt-out of correspondence (see Opt-out process below).
Providing Overdue Dose Reports and Dose Exception Reports to school and community-based immunisation providers.
Providing access either by telephone or online (where access is granted) to Medical Practitioners and other immunisation providers to an individual’s Immunisation Record.
Information from the Register may be provided to researchers for ethically-approved health research. This will usually involve de-identified information, i.e. summary statistics that do not identify an individual.
To cross reference vaccination information held by the HPV Register with information from the Pap test registries and cancer registries that are currently maintained by states and territory governments.

To whom is information disclosed?

Personal information about an individual may be disclosed to the following parties:

An individual’s Immunisation Provider.
An individual’s Medical Practitioner.
A representative of the individual (e.g. an authorised representative or lawyer), with their written consent.
In the case of children*, to the parent or guardian of the child as recorded on the HPV Register.
The Department of Health & Ageing upon written request.
Cervical Cancer Screening Registers operated by States and Territories.

VCS does not disclose an individual’s personal or health information to any overseas organisation or person (other than the individual).

Opting-Off the Register

An individual, or in the case of a child*, their parent/guardian, may elect not to have their personal and immunisation details recorded on the HPV Register. This is referred to as Opting-Off the Register.

To opt-off the Register you should indicate to your Immunisation Provider that your personal details are not to be forwarded to the HPV Register.

If you wish to have your personal information removed from the HPV Register, you (or in the case of a child*, their parent/guardian) should make a request in writing to the Register’s Medical Director (at the details set put below).

Opting-Out of correspondence

A person, or in the case of a child*, their parent/guardian, may elect not to receive any correspondence, such as completion statements or reminder letters, from the HPV Register. This is referred to as Opting-Out of correspondence. When a person opts-out of correspondence, personal details and vaccination history are still recorded on the HPV Register and the usual correspondence to Immunisation Providers and Medical Practitioners will still occur. However, the individual will not receive any of the correspondence that is usually sent to individuals as described above.

To opt-out of correspondence, you need to advise us by telephone or in writing.

HOW AN INDIVIDUAL OBTAINS ACCESS TO THEIR OWN PERSONAL INFORMATION

VCS will provide an individual with access to their personal and health information at no cost. You may also request correction of your personal information and health information.

The following section describes how a person should proceed.

A request for access to or correction of personal information may be in writing or by telephone (subject to rules governing the release of personal information). (A form is available on request – Request for Personal Health Records).
The person should provide sufficient identification so that the authenticity of the request can be assessed by VCS staff.

VCS will endeavour to respond to any request for access or correction within 10 working days of receipt of the request.

HOW TO MAKE A COMPLAINT REGARDING YOUR PRIVACY?

If you have any concerns or complaints about the manner in which VCS has handled your personal or health information, please contact us in writing at the below address. We will endeavour to resolve your complaint promptly and will provide a written response to you.

Contact details for the Register are:

Postal Address:
The Medical Director
NHVPR
PO Box 310
East Melbourne Victoria 8002

Web Address: www.hpvregister.org.au
HPV Register Contact Centre: 1800 478 734

 

Alternatively, you may wish to direct your complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

Web Address: www.oaic.gov.au

Email: enquiries@oaic.gov.au

Postal Address:
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
GPO Box 5218
Sydney NSW 2001