Premiums may skyrocket due to e-health
AS THE government continues to bargain with GP groups over the conditions practices must agree to when using the national e-health record system, experts have warned the legal liabilities attached to the records could push premiums up.
The first draft of the agreement caused outrage across the profession by requiring practices to assume all legal liability for the system and grant health department officials unrestricted access to their premises and records.
Department officials were due to meet RACGP representatives today to discuss the latest draft of the agreement, which sources said was the fourth so far, but MO understands the major GP organisations are still unhappy with many of the conditions.
MDA National president Associate Professor Julian Rait said the contentious “search and seizure” powers had been removed from the latest draft but GPs should still treat the system with “extreme caution”.
“The government is still trying to impose liabilities on providers over the security of the system,” Professor Rait said.
“I would like to see the system redesigned so patients can only change the record in the context of a consultation, but if the design is not changed doctors should use the system with extreme caution.”
Professor Rait said MDA would closely monitor the fallout after the system goes live on 1 July, but he expected it to trigger a rise of complaints and claims against doctors.
“That could put pressure on premiums,” he said.
“If in six months we saw a spike in claims then we might reconsider our position with respect to our premiums.”
AMA Council of General Practice chair Dr Brian Morton said he also expected the introduction of the system to impact on premiums.
“The insurers have to reflect their own risk assessments in the price of their premiums and I would not be surprised if they took the view this will result in more claims,” Dr Morton said.
“There are still a number of unknowns in terms of who assumes liability under the agreement if a patient suffers harm resulting from inadequate or incorrect information in the record.
“There are a number of things there that can expose us.”