Personal Health Information Act (PHIA)
In 2008, the House of Assembly passed the Personal Health Information Act. The Act applies to public and private custodians of personal health information and establishes the rules related to health information collection, use and disclosure. All custodians of personal health information including physicians, are required to be informed about the Act and their roles and responsibilities as defined in the Act.
The Department of Health and Community Services has developed resources (see below) to inform physicians about their roles and responsibilities as custodians of personal health information.
OIPC Privacy Checkups for Physicians
The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) invites physicians to undertake a “Privacy Check-Up” designed to help physician custodians and their staff evaluate their level of compliance with PHIA. This educational initiative consists of a short nine-question checklist (with additional follow-up points) that will help Custodians determine whether they have “reasonable security measures” in place to protect personal health information as required by PHIA. The questions also seek to remind Custodians of their additional obligations under PHIA with respect to collection, use and disclosure of personal health information. The OIPC is encouraging all Custodians to contact their office to arrange a short site visit (20 minutes) during which an Access and Privacy Analyst will come to your office and talk with physicians and staff about the checklist and if necessary, discuss ways to improve practices and procedures to become PHIA compliant. For questions, more information, or to set up a visit, contact the OIPC at (709) 729-6309 or [email protected].
On June 28, 2019, the Children, Youth and Families Act came into effect to replace the former Children and Youth Care and Protection Act. The new Act expands the identification and support of youth in need of protection by increasing the scope of the duty to report to include youth aged 16-17 and removing restrictions so that all youth under a voluntary Youth Services Agreement can receive services until their 21st birthday.
On November 25, 2017, Dr. Robert Morris presented Child Protection: Duty to Report during the Women and Children’s Health Day, hosted by the Office of Professional Development, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University. Dr. Morris is a (now retired) pediatrician and former member of the Child Protection Committee at the Janeway Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Centre and former Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Memorial University. His presentation is available below.
(Disclaimer: Dr. Morris is not a lawyer and this presentation is his professional assessment of the laws in 2017.)