Have you created a ShazzleMail account on your smartphone? This is a required first step.

Yes No

Free Encrypted Email

dr-mike-kirlew

Health Canada breaches Indigenous patients’ privacy, MDs say

October 11, 2016

Northern Ontario doctors say there is double standard in privacy protection for First Nations people
By Jody Porter, CBC News Posted: Oct 10, 2016 7:00 AM ET Last Updated: Oct 10, 2016 9:57 AM ET

‘What are they doing with the data?’ Dr. Mike Kirlew spoke to a Parliamentary committee earlier this year about his concern over the detailed diagnostic information Health Canada collects about First Nations patients.
‘What are they doing with the data?’ Dr. Mike Kirlew spoke to a Parliamentary committee earlier this year about his concern over the detailed diagnostic information Health Canada collects about First Nations patients. (CBC )

‘Tremendous gap’ in health outcomes for First Nations, federal health minister says
Meet the man who walked for 17 days to keep a promise to his late wife
MPs hear from First Nations leaders on health emergencies
Lack of safe water leads to deadly infections north of Sioux Lookout, doctor says
More than 20 doctors in northwestern Ontario say they will stop following Health Canada policy starting Tuesday, because of concerns over their patients’ privacy.

For years doctors who provide care for First Nations people in remote reserves have been required to provide Health Canada clerks with detailed diagnostic information about their patients for the patients to access medical travel grants.

The doctors say that is an invasion of privacy and leads to a situation where an anonymous clerk at Health Canada can deny access to care.

“I don’t like the fact there could be a list somewhere in Ottawa of all the First Nations people who are medically incapacitated,” said Dr. Mike Kirlew of Sioux Lookout.

Health Canada demands details

Health Canada requires the detailed diagnostic information under the federal non-insured health benefits program that covers First Nations people for drugs, dental and vision care and other benefits not covered by provincial health insurance. Health Canada clerks regularly ask for a patient’s condition when Dr. Kirlew has requested travel for a patient to see a specialist or undergo a diagnostic procedure, he said.
##
“They’re not part of the circle of care,” Kirlew said. “What are they doing with that data?”

The patients Kirlew and the other doctors serve live in isolated First Nations where there are no hospitals and no resident doctors. Denying travel for them is denying access to health care, Kirlew said.

The Northern Physicians group wrote a letter to Health Minister Jane Philpott on Sept. 30, outlining their concerns and signalling their intention to stop following Health Canada policies as of Oct. 11.

Health Canada is responsible for the health needs of First Nations people living on reserve in Ontario.

Provincial health travel grants in Ontario require only a doctor’s signature with no further requirement to reveal private medical information, Dr. Kirlew said. But provincial travel grants would not cover the cost of flights from remote First Nations communities.

Double standard

There is also a double standard when it comes to assistance to pay for prescription drugs — Health Canada requires more private information than the provincial drug benefit system, he said.

The root of the problem, according to the northern doctors, is that First Nations people have fewer protections under the Federal Privacy Act than people covered by the provincial Personal Health Information Protection Act, which has much tighter controls on patient information.

NDP MP Charlie Angus, whose Timmins-James Bay riding includes several First Nations, wrote to the federal privacy commissioner about the doctors’ concerns on Thursday.

“It’s absolutely unbelievable that we could have a situation where the relationship between a doctor and a patient could be interfered with and undermined and overridden by some bureaucrat in Ottawa who decides they’ll save money by just denying treatment,” Angus said in an interview with CBC News.

For both Dr. Kirlew and Angus, the privacy issue is just one example of discrimination against Indigenous people within the Canadian health care system.

“How many other provincial safeguards are missing on reserve?” Kirlew asks. “There is so much jurisdictional ambiguity.”

A spokesperson for the Health Minister says she is aware of the doctors’ concerns and working to address them.

Tags: , , ,

Introducing ShazzleMail Email and How it Works

Privacy is your Fundamental Human Right.

Our Daily Blog
telegram-3m
Your Privacy Is Our Business
April 30, 2019

Let us reassure you: You’re worried only because you don’t understand anything about anything. ...

Read more
pr
Coffee with Privacy Pros: Three Constants of Privacy
April 23, 2019

A look behind the career and privacy theology of the law-lovin’ CPO of Uber, Ruby Zefo Jared Cose...

Read more
privacy-coins-and-bitcoin-dominance-guide
We’ve Stopped Talking And Searching About Privacy
April 15, 2019

Kalev Leetaru Contributor AI & Big Data I write about the broad intersection of data and soci...

Read more
private
Rebiton Allows You to Buy Bitcoin and Keep Your Privacy
April 8, 2019

by Kai Sedgwick Purchasing bitcoin ought to be quick and easy, but over the years, encroaching KY...

Read more
20190323_fbd001
Big tech faces competition and privacy concerns in Brussels
March 25, 2019

And the sector may be the better for it Print edition | Briefing Mar 23rd 2019 | PARIS Around 19 ...

Read more