The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 1982 gives you the right to access your information held by Central Highlands Rural Health. All requests to access information are handled in accordance with the provision of that law.
You also have the right to ask for information which we hold about you to be changed or annotated if it is incomplete, out of date, incorrect or misleading.
Central Highlands Rural Health can refuse access to some documents, or parts of documents that are exempt. Exempt documents may include those relating to national security, documents containing material obtained in confidence and Cabinet documents, or other matters set out in the FOI Act.
What is in your medical record?
Your medical record includes health information collected during your inpatient, community health, aged care and/or urgent care attendances. The information is used to assist in your ongoing care and treatment. The information includes details of current and past illnesses or injuries, operations performed, pathology results, care plans and medications taken and prescribed.
How long are records kept?
Our medical records are retained in accordance with the Public Record Office Retention and Disposal Schedules as follows:
Hospital/Community Health Medical Records:
Retention & Disposal Authority for Patient Information Records (Public Records Office Standard 11/06)
Aged Care Medical Records:
Retention and Disposal Authority for Records of the Aged Care Function (Public Records Office Standard 09/10)
How do I apply to access my records?
Applications must be in writing to the FOI Officer. Your request to either view the record or obtain a copy must be clear. If you are seeking access to documents relating to your own personal affairs, please attach proof of your identity (e.g. driver’s license, passport and/or health care card).
Records will only be provided to another person if written authority from the patient is given, or if you can provide evidence you have been named as Power of Attorney by that person for all their affairs; have been appointed Legal Guardian; or are the direct Next of Kin in the case of a deceased person.
Records may also be made available in accordance with due legal process, eg. as evidence in a legal action before a court.
Applications should be forwarded to:
Freedom of Information Administrator
Central Highlands Rural Health
PO Box 465
DAYLESFORD VIC 3460
How much will it cost to access my records?
It is a statutory requirement under Victorian legislation that a non refundable application fee be paid. These application fees are updated annually as from 1st July.
An application fee of $29.62 currently is required to constitute a valid application and is non refundable. Please remember to enclose a cheque /money order (payable to Central Highlands Rural Health) with the application. The application fee may be waived if payment is likely to cause financial hardship. If this is the case, you must attach evidence of financial hardship such as a copy of your health care card or pensioner concession card with your request.
In addition to the application fee, charges will also be incurred depending on the nature of the request. These include the costs incurred for:
- Photocopying (20c per A4 page)
- Providing written transcripts of a recorded document
- Supervising an inspection of documents
- Postage ($10.00 for Registered Post)
You will be issued with an invoice detailing the costs incurred.
What happens if I want to request a correction to my record?
Every person also has the right to request the correction or amendment of personal information, held by the Hospital, which they believes is inaccurate, incomplete, out of date, or misleading. A request to amend documents must be made in writing with details of why the information is considered incorrect. Please note, that you may be required to provide evidence to support your request.
How long will it take to access my records?
Once the FOI application has been received, together with the application fee or evidence of financial hardship, we will respond in writing outlining the decision, as soon as practicable but no later than 30 days from the date the request was received. A decision in relation to a request to amend personal records will be made as soon as practicable and no later than 30 days from the date the request was received.
What should I do if I’m not happy with the way my requested has been handled?
You can contact the Freedom of Information Commissioner, an independent officer who reports directly to Parliament through a joint parliamentary committee, the Accountability and Oversight Committee.
The Commissioner’s functions include:
- Review of decisions of agencies in relation to first stage FOI requests. This replaced the internal review process conducted by agencies.
- Handling complaints about the administration of the Act.
- Monitoring agencies’ compliance with any professional standards set by the Minister.
- Reporting to Parliament on the operation of the Act.
- Providing advice, education and guidance to agencies and the public in relation to the Commissioner’s role and any professional standards set by the Minister.
- Providing advice to the Minister in relation to the operation and administration of the Act, as requested by the Minister.
Central Highlands Rural Health produces a summary of the application and operation of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 in the annual report for public access. We also submit data to Office of Victorian Information Commissioner which is used in their preparation of the FOI Annual Report and is made available on their website.