College position: Patients are entitled to be informed of all aspects of their health care. This includes the right to disclosure of an adverse outcome. Whenever possible, the disclosure should be made directly to the affected patient. The disclosue should be made by the medical practitioner who was most in charge of the treatment when the adverse event occurred.
Patients have a right to know their present medical status, not only as an intrinsic right but also to make informed decisions about their health care. This means patients have a right to know when an adverse treatment outcome impacts their present medical status. Leaving it to a patient, or to an alternate health care provider, to discover or act upon an adverse outcome is not consistent with the rights of patients, and in some circumstances the resultant delay may harm the patient.
Whenever a complaint has been lodged against a medical practitioner, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland and Labrador will include this information on the physician's Certificate of Standing:
Certain doctors have begun to ask prospective patients to complete a detailed medical questionnaire before agreeing to accept a patient into their practice. But the College takes the position that ‘cherry-picking’ patients abrogates the Canadian Charter of Rights. The Charter was adopted by the Canadian Medical Association Code of Ethics which states:
CMA Code of Ethics, Section 17
In providing medical service, do not discriminate against any patient on such grounds as age, gender, marital status, medical condition, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, political affiliation, race, religion, or socioeconomic status. This does not abrogate the physician's right to refuse to accept a patient for legitimate reasons.
College Guideline for Physicians
Do not ask prospective patients to complete medical questionnaires before they meet you. If you chose to not accept that patient, he or she could allege that you turned them down due to their medical problems, a practice that is unethical and unprofessional. If you want to use a questionnaire, do so after you accept the patient into your practice. The College takes patient complaints seriously on this issue, and the offending MD may be subject to investigation by the Complaints Authorization Committee.
Upon any application for registration, license, or renewal of license with the College, an applicant shall provide any and all of the following information upon College request:
Any failure to provide the information shall be grounds for denial of an application.
|PIPEDA||Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act
This privacy law covers private-sector commercial organizations, including medical clinics and physicians in private practice.
|Privacy Act||Privacy Act
This privacy law relates to an individual's right to access and correct personal information the Government of Canada holds about them.
|HIPA||Health Information Protection Act
This legislation, locally enacted by each province, governs the trustees of health records.
The federal PIPEDA law governs private-sector organizations engaged in commercial activities across Canada. It sets down clear rules for how these organizations may collect, use, or disclose personal information, and guarantees concrete avenues for amending flawed information. PIPEDA applies to medical clinics and physicians in private practice.
Some provinces have HIPA legislation that, on inspection, is deemed ‘substantially similar’ to the health-records subset of PIPEDA. An organization that operates solely within such a province will be exempt from PIPEDA, unless the personal information crosses provincial or national borders.
But more than half the provinces and territories have HIPA legislation which is not substantially similar to PIPEDA. In such provinces, an application to PIPEDA may succeed.
Newfoundland/Labrador is a compliant province – its local HIPA legislation offers a pragmatic protection for health records that is deemed substantially similar to PIPEDA. Compliance oversight belongs to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
Tuum Est - It Is Up To You
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