Personal health information and privacy
The New Brunswick Personal Health Information Privacy and Access Act (PHIPAA) protects the privacy of your personal health information, including information about you maintained by Vitalité Health Network. Under this Act, you have certain rights and choices regarding how this information is used and disclosed. As a custodian of your personal health information, Vitalité Health Network is required to comply with this act.
Our organization includes among others the following components:
- Public Health
- Addiction and Community Mental Health services
- Community Health Centres
- Extra-Mural Program
- Health centres and clinics
The following document outlines the approach adopted by Vitalité Health Network to protect your privacy. Everyone working within Vitalité Health Network must adhere to the terms stated herein.
How do we collect your personal information?
We collect personal health information about you directly from you or from the person acting on your behalf. The personal information we collect may include:
- demographic data such as your name, address, phone number, date of birth, marital status;
- your Medicare number;
- the names of those individuals who may make decisions on your behalf;
- information about your physical and mental health;
- information about your personal insurance and health care benefits;
- your religious belief or associations;
- information about your occupational health;
- financial information relating to payments or eligibility for health care.
Occasionally, we collect personal health information about you from other sources if we have obtained your consent to do so or if the law permits. For example, we may collect personal information from another regional health authority, nursing homes, Department of Social Development, Veterans Affairs Canada, or the New Brunswick Prescription Drug Program.
We only collect the information that is required to provide care, manage the health care system, and communicate with you. We do not collect any other information, or allow information to be used for other purposes, without your verbal or written consent, except where authorized to do so by law.
Who can see and use your personal health information?
We must document the services and care we provided to you and share your personal information with other health care professionals involved in your care, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, medical laboratory technologists, dietitians, physiotherapists, etc.
We may also collect, use, and give out your personal health information to others, as reasonably necessary, without your prior consent in order to:
- obtain payment for your health care (and hospital services);
- plan, manage, and administer health care programs and services, or to fulfill reporting obligations to certain authorized organizations for use in the planning and management of the health care system;
- facilitate organ and tissue donation;
- conduct quality control studies and peer reviews;
- conduct research studies and trials;
- fulfill other purposes as permitted or required by law.
We must obtain your written consent before using or disclosing your information for purposes other than providing care; here are some examples:
- disclosing your information to media or third parties;
- using your information in research projects;
- giving insurance companies or legal counsels access to your health record or other information on your health condition;
- asking your support for a fundraising initiative;
- contacting you to inform you of health-related benefits, services, or education classes that may be of interest to you.
There are some situations where we are legally required to disclose your personal information without your consent. These situations include, but are not limited to:
- billing provincial health plans;
- reporting infectious diseases;
- reducing potential physical or mental harm to an individual or the public;
- responding to a court order;
- providing information for an inquiry for internal purposes, a professional disciplinary body, or to a regulating body.
Your rights and choices
PHIPAA identifies specific rights that individuals have with respect to their personal health information. You have the right, subject to certain limited exceptions, to:
- Ask us not to give out your personal health information to other health care providers or other parties, in which case we will not give out this information unless permitted or required by law to do so.
- Request to examine or receive a copy of your personal health information. If you wish to view the original record, one of our staff members must be present to maintain the integrity of the record. A reasonable fee may be charged for providing a copy. Requests for access to your health record can be made verbally or in writing to the Health Records Department or the person in charge of the sector from which you received care (in the absence of a Health Records Department).
- Ask us to make corrections to inaccurate or incomplete personal health information.
- Designate another person to make decisions about your personal health information.
- File a complaint with the Privacy Office of Vitalité Health Network if you believe your rights have not been respected.
You may contact the Office of the Access to Information and Privacy Commissioner:
Toll free 1-877-755-2811 or 506-453-5965
65, Regent Street, Suite 230
Fredericton, NB, E3B 7H8
Safeguards are in place to protect the security of your information. These safeguards include a combination of physical, technological, and administrative security measures that are appropriate to the sensitivity of the information. These safeguards are aimed at protecting personal information against loss or theft, as well as unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use, or modification.
We retain patient/client records as required by law and professional regulations. When information is no longer required, it is destroyed in a secure manner, according to set procedures that govern the storage and destruction of personal information.