Hearing Service Providers have contacted us about difficulties in obtaining client records.
Section 35 of the Hearing Services Program (Voucher) Instrument 2019 outlines your obligations about client relocations. The Service Provider Contract also addresses the records and documentation requirements.
Client record transfers
The online portal links client records to a provider’s business location, or site. If a client wishes to receive services from a new provider, the system will send a relocation request to their current provider. When the current provider receives that request, they must forward the client’s record to the new provider.
If the record has been archived, you must retrieve it.
Once a client notifies you that they wish to relocate, you must send their complete client record to the new site within 7 business days.
The receiving provider is responsible for checking that the record sent is complete. If the record has not arrived within a reasonable time, contact the sender in the first instance. If you have ongoing issues obtaining the client record please contact us.
A client must give their informed consent to relocate to a new provider before you process the relocation. If the client initially gives verbal consent, you must still obtain signed and dated written consent at the first appointment and keep this on the client record.
We may request evidence of this consent.
You must send client records must via one of these methods:
- registered mail
- encrypted email.
Keep any tracking numbers as confirmation as we may request evidence.
Do not transfer any electronic client records by unsecured email. Email systems are not secure enough for the transfer of personal health information. If you wish to use a secure or encrypted email system for the transfer of electronic client records, you must take into account:
- the location of any storage
- its security
- its compliance with the Privacy Act, the Archives Act and program requirements.
Providers have reported to us that client records are occasionally incomplete. Records should contain sufficient background information as to why providers have reached clinical decisions for a program client.
It is the responsibility of all service providers servicing a client over their time in the program to ensure a client’s record contains all details relevant to program services provided.
If a client record is lost and you cannot forward it to the new provider you must notify:
- the new provider
- the client.
You may also have to notify the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.
You will also need to develop a procedure to reduce the likelihood of this happening again.
Providers must maintain client records properly to ensure continuity of care if they relocate to a new provider.
Read our provider handbook for more information about:
- managing client records
- client relocations.