Janine Painter Occupational Therapy Services (the “OT Practice”) provides occupational therapy to children and young adults and is committed to ensuring quality care for all clients. In order to operate the OT Practice we need to collect personal information from clients and/or their parents or guardians. We recognise the importance of ensuring that you are fully informed and involved in the therapy services we provide and we respect your right to the privacy of your personal information.
As a private health care provider we are required to comply with the Australian Privacy Principles (“APPs”) under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). The Australian Privacy Principles outline the information we may collect, the purposes for which we can collect the information, and how it is collected, stored, used and disclosed. We also comply with relevant NSW and (if applicable) other State legislation regarding the collection and storage of information and the retention of records.
What types of personal information do we collect?
We aim only to collect personal information that is reasonably necessary for the services we provide and the activities we undertake in the OT Practice. This may include (where relevant) information about the child or young adult as well as information about their parent or guardian, their home environment and other family members. We also collect personal information about our Independent Therapists and employees.
The types of personal information that we collect may include:
- your name, home address, email address, telephone number and other contact details,
- information about your doctors and/or other health service providers,
- information about your school and your education and any counselling services provided to you;
- your Medicare and private health fund details;
- information relevant to your eligibility for funding from a Government agency, insurer or other entity providing funding (this may include information about your income or information about other payments or benefits you receive);
- bank account and/or credit or debit card details where this is provided to us for the purpose of making payments or receiving health fund or other payments or rebates
- general information about your use of our services or our website;
- information about the employment, professional history and insurance arrangements of our Independent Therapists.
Some of the information we may collect is classified as “sensitive information” (this includes information about your race, ethnicity, politics, religious or philosophical beliefs, sexual preferences, health, genetics or criminal record). Because we are a private health service provider and we work with children, it may be necessary for us to collect the following types of sensitive information about you:
- medical history, general health information and information about other health services used by you;
- genetic information where this is relevant to the purpose for which you have sought occupational therapy;
- information about your race or ethnicity where this is relevant to the purpose for which you have sought occupational therapy or your eligibility for funding from a government agency, insurer or another entity providing funding;
- information about your health or genetics (where relevant) contained in clinical notes and formal assessments and progress reports prepared in the OT Practice;
We may also collect sensitive information about our Independent Therapists and employees, such as health information, insurance information and information which is required in order to complete their Working with Children certification.
Why do we collect personal information?
In order to provide quality occupational therapy services, it is necessary for us to maintain files relating to the child or young adult to whom we provide therapy. These files may contain both “personal information” and “sensitive information” (e.g., health and genetic information) which we collect from you or from other persons (e.g. your referring doctor).
Our files may include information about the child or young adult as well as information about their parent or guardian, their home environment and other family members. This is because information about the parent/ guardian and other family members may be relevant to the therapy services which are provided. Collecting this information also helps us to plan who will be involved in following up on the therapy at home or at school.
We collect this information for the purpose of providing the occupational therapy services which you
have requested and to administer and manage those services, including writing to you about the therapy services and billing and collecting debts. We may also collect this information for the following related purposes:
- to provide services in conjunction or collaboration with other healthcare professionals (e.g., your doctor, psychologist or speech therapist) where you have requested us to do so;
- for quality assurance activities and clinical auditing within the OT Practice;
- for insurance purposes in relation to the OT Practice
- to send reminder and recall letters
- to arrange a payment from Medicare, a government agency (e.g., the National Disability Insurance Scheme), a private health fund, an insurer or another entity who is providing funding for the service
- to gain an understanding of your service needs so we may provide you with the best service
- for teaching purposes – only de-identified information may be used for teaching purposes
Do I have to provide my personal information and can I remain anonymous?
You may choose not to provide any or all of the personal information we request. If this happens, we may not be able to provide occupational therapy services as effectively or comprehensively as you would like us to. We may also decide we cannot provide the services at all and we will tell you so.
Because we provide a health service to children and young adults, it is not practical for us to provide occupational therapy services to you if you choose to remain anonymous or to use a name other than your own.
How do we collect your personal information?
We will collect personal information about you only by lawful and fair means and not in an unreasonably intrusive manner.
We collect most personal information directly from you via an initial conversation over the telephone or in person, from answers to the questionnaire we give you, or from correspondence with you by e-mail. Usually, this information will be collected from the parent or guardian who brings the child or young adult to us for therapy. We will generally accept the parent or guardian who first contacts us as having authority to provide personal information on behalf of the child or young adult and to provide any relevant consent which is required in order to collect, use or disclose your personal information.
However, where we provide therapy to a young adult or teenager who is 16 years or older, we will generally also obtain the personal consent of that person (where required) along with the consent of your parent or guardian, unless it is not practical for us to do so.
When we collect “sensitive information” we will only do so where you have consented to us collecting the information. You may do this by providing the information to us directly or by giving us the contact details of another person responsible for your sensitive information such as your doctor, psychologist or speech therapist. (see “What types of personal information do we collect?” above for more information)
When we collect personal information directly from you, we will take reasonable steps at or before the time of collection (or as soon as reasonably practical after receiving the information) to ensure that you are aware of certain key matters, such as the purposes for which we are collecting the information, the organisations (or types of organisations) to which we would normally disclose information of that kind, the fact that you are able to access the information and how to contact us.
Sometimes it may not be reasonable or practical for us to collect the information directly from you. In this case, someone else may provide us with personal information about you, with or without your direct involvement. We will generally only collect or receive this information where you have provided us with contact details of the person or you have told the person to provide the information to us, or you have otherwise consented to us collecting the information. The persons who may provide us with personal information about you include:
- your doctor and/or other health service providers;
- your teacher or school counsellor;
- Medicare, your private health fund, a Government agency, your insurer or another entity providing funding;
- your solicitor (e.g., where the therapy services relate to a condition arising from an accident);
- another parent or guardian or person responsible for your personal information;
How do we use your personal information and who will this information be provided to?
We will generally only use your personal information for the primary purpose of providing occupational therapy services or one of the related purposes described in “Why do we collect personal information?” above.
This means we will usually only use your personal information or disclose your personal information to someone else if we are doing so as part of providing occupational therapy services in the OT Practice, or for one of those related purposes.
We may disclose your personal information to employees working in the OT Practice as well as to persons outside the OT Practice (such as our Independent Therapists, including those who are not currently providing therapy to you) where such disclosure is reasonably necessary to carry out one of the purposes described above.
We may also disclose your personal information to the following persons outside the OT Practice:
- any parent, guardian or other “responsible person” for the child or young adult, but only if it is necessary to do so in order to provide appropriate therapy care or for compassionate reasons (we may do this even if the person is not the primary parent or guardian who has brought the child or young adult for therapy);
- your doctor and other health care professionals or other personnel involved with your welfare (e.g. teachers, school counsellors);
- outsourced service providers who perform functions on behalf of the OT Practice (such as security, accounting, legal, internet hosting, email or mail handling services);
- anyone authorised by you to receive your personal information or sensitive information (your consent may be express or implied and can be withdrawn at any time);
- a person connected with or providing services in relation to a proposed sale or merger of the OT Practice (de-identified information only).
In any event, disclosure of your personal details and sensitive information will be minimised or controlled where this is reasonably practicable.
Is my personal information protected when it is provided to other persons?
If you would like to restrict the persons outside the OT Practice to whom we provide your personal information, then you must let us know that in writing. In some cases, if you restrict the persons to whom we provide your personal information and sensitive information, this could mean that we are unable to provide the occupational therapy services effectively and if that is the case we will let you know.
Are there any other situations where my personal information might be disclosed to other persons?
We may also give access to your personal information where we are permitted or obliged to do so by Australian law. For example, in some circumstances we will use or disclose personal information:
- in order to react to unlawful activity, serious misconduct, or to reduce or prevent a serious threat to life, health or safety or if a person is reported as missing;
- where the use or disclosure is reasonably necessary in connection with a legal claim, court proceeding or dispute resolution process affecting the OT Practice; or
- if we are obliged to cooperate with law enforcement bodies (such as if we receive an access request or warrant) to provide information that is authorised under Australian law.
Is any of my personal information held overseas?
Generally, personal information will not be released to a person or organisation in a foreign country without your consent, unless we are permitted to do so under the Privacy Act (Cth) or obliged to do so by Australian law. See above for the circumstances where this might occur.
However, when we store or receive your personal information electronically (e.g. by internet or email), or when we use outsourced service providers, your personal information may be stored in data facilities or through internet services located overseas. We will generally only use service providers in these circumstances where:
- we reasonably believe that the overseas recipient is subject to a law, or binding scheme, that has the effect of protecting the information in the manner specified under the Australian Privacy Principles; or
- you have consented to us providing your information in connection with the use of email, internet or data storage, to persons or organisations who may be located outside Australia or who may store the information outside Australia.
By providing that consent, you acknowledge that the person or organisation holding your information overseas may not be required to comply with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).
How do you keep my personal information secure and accurate?
We will take reasonable steps to:
- make sure that the personal information that we collect, use and disclose is accurate, complete and up to date
- protect the personal information that we hold from misuse, interference and loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure
- destroy or permanently de-identify personal information that is no longer needed for any purpose for which the information may be used or disclosed under the Australian Privacy Principles, subject to any other laws or regulations requiring records to be retained.
You can help us to keep the personal information accurate, complete and up to date, by letting us know about any changes to your personal information, such as your name and address.
How can I access and correct my personal information?
If you ask us, we will usually give you access to the personal information we hold about you. We will always confirm your identity before giving access to your personal information. We will generally ask you to make the request in writing or by email and specify what information you require. We may also charge a reasonable fee to cover our costs of supplying you with access to this information.
In some circumstances, the Privacy Act entitles us to deny access to your personal information. For example, we can’t give you access if providing the information would:
- unreasonably affect someone’s else’s privacy;
- pose a serious threat to someone’s life, health or safety;
- prejudice the taking of appropriate action in relation to suspected unlawful activity or serious misconduct; or
- adversely affect our position in relation to legal proceedings or negotiations in which we are involved.
If we do refuse access, we are required to let you know the reasons for our refusal.
If any of the information we hold about you is inaccurate, you may ask us to alter our records accordingly.
Do you use Commonwealth government identifiers?
We will not use Commonwealth government identifiers, such as Medicare numbers (“Identifiers”) as our own identifier of individuals. We will only use or disclose Identifiers in the circumstances permitted by the Privacy Act (Cth).
What do I do if I have a question or complaint about privacy issues?
The Privacy Officer
Telephone: 9524 2566
If you are not satisfied, then you have the right to make a complaint to the Australian Information Commissioner (https://www.oaic.gov.au). You can also contact the OAIC by telephone 1300 363 992 or in writing GPO Box 5218, Sydney NSW 2001.