Protecting your privacy and the confidentiality of your personal information has always been an important aspect of Brain Injury Community Re-entry’s operations. The appropriate collection, use and disclosure of participants’ personal health information is fundamental to our day to day operations and to your care.
We strive to provide you with excellent medical care and service, which includes developing appropriate services and treating your personal health information with respect. Each member and employee of our organization must abide by our commitment to privacy in handling of personal information.
Personal health information means identifying information about an individual relating to their physical or mental health (including medical history), the providing of health care to the individual, payments or eligibility for health care, organ and tissue donation and health number.
Your health record includes information about your health including your date of birth, contact information, health number, health history, family health history, details of your physical and mental health, record of your visits, notes from care, assessments, counseling and treatment, any other care and support you received, results from assessments, information from other health care providers and the name of your substitute decision-maker if you are not able to make your own decisions.
The information in your health record belongs to you, but the health record itself is the property of Brain Injury Community Re-entry (Niagara) Inc.
Identifying Purposes: Why We Collect Information
We ask you for information to establish a relationship and serve your medical needs. We obtain most of our information about you directly from you, or from other health practitioners whom you have seen and authorized to disclose to us. You are entitled to know how we use your information and this is described in the Privacy Statement posted. We will limit the information we collect to what we need for those purposes, and we will use it only for those purposes. We will obtain your consent if we wish to use your information for any other purpose.
We collect, use and disclose (meaning share) your health information to:
Our collection, use and disclosure (sharing) of your personal health information must follow the law.
You have a right to make choices and control how your health information is collected, used, and disclosed, subject to some limits.
There is no magic age when you become able to make your own decisions about your health information. You may be capable of making some decisions and not others. If you are not capable - you will have a substitute decision-maker (often a family member) who will make your information decisions for you. Who can act as a substitute decision-maker and what they have to do is also set out in law.
We assume that when you come to have health care from us, you have given us your permission (your consent) to use your information, unless you tell us otherwise. We may also collect, use and share your health information in order to talk with other health care providers about your care unless you tell us you do not want us to do so.
You have the right to ask that we not share some or all of your health record with one or more of the our staff members or ask us not to share your health record with one or more of your external health care providers (such as a specialist). This is known as asking for a “lockbox". If you would like to know more, please ask us for a copy of our “Lockbox Information Brochure: How to Restrict Access to your Health Record”.
There are other cases where we are not allowed to assume we have your permission to share information. We may need permission to communicate with any family members or friends with whom you would like us to share information about your health (unless someone is your substitute decision-maker). For example, we will need your permission to give your health information to an insurance company. We will explain this to you.
When we require and ask for your permission, you may choose to say no. If you say yes, you may change your mind at any time. Once you say no, we will no longer share your information unless you say so. Your choice to say no may be subject to some limits.
BUT there are cases where we may collect, use or share your health information without your permission, as permitted or required by law. For example, we do not require your permission to use your information for billing, risk management or error management, quality improvement purposes; or to share personal health information in a number of permitted or required circumstances, including to keep you or someone else safe (it’s called to eliminate or reduce a significant risk of serious bodily harm); or to meet reporting obligations under other laws such as for child protection.
We collect information by fair and lawful means and collect only that information which may be necessary for purposes related to the provision of services related to your medical needs.
Limiting Use, Disclosure and Retention
The information we request from you is used and disclosed for the purposes defined. We will seek your consent before using the information for purposes beyond the scope of the posted Privacy Statement.
We will retain your information only for the time it is required for the purposes we describe and once your personal information is no longer required, it will be securely destroyed. However in order to meet legal requirements and for our business purposes, including if there is exposure to potential claims, some information is kept for a longer period.
We endeavour to ensure that all decisions involving your personal information are based upon accurate and timely information. While we will do our best to base our decisions on accurate information, we rely on you to disclose all material information and to inform us of any relevant changes.
Safeguards: Protecting Your Information
We protect your information with appropriate safeguards and security measures. BICR maintains personal information in a combination of paper and electronic files. Recent paper records concerning individuals’ personal information are stored in files kept onsite at our office. Older files/records may be stored offsite.
Everyone on our team is bound by confidentiality. We have to protect your information from loss or theft and make sure no one looks at it or does something with your information if they are not involved with your care or allowed as part of their job. Access to personal information will be authorized only for the physicians and employees associated with BICR, and other agents who require access in the performance of their duties and to those otherwise authorized by law.
Our computer systems are password-secured and constructed in such a way that only authorized individuals can access secure systems and databases.
If you send us an e-mail messages that includes personal information, such as your name included in the “address”, we will use that information to respond to your inquiry. Please remember that e-mail is not necessarily secure against interception. If your communication is very sensitive, you should not send it electronically unless the e-mail is encrypted or your browser indicates that the access is secure.
Openness: Keeping You Informed
If you have any additional questions or concerns about privacy, we invite you to contact us and we will address your concerns to the best of our ability.
Access and Correction
With limited exceptions, we will give you access to the information we retain about you within a reasonable time, upon presentation of a written request and satisfactory identification.
We may charge you a fee for this service and if so, we will give you notice in advance of processing your request.
If you find errors of fact in your personal health information, please notify us as soon as possible and we will make the appropriate corrections. We are not required to correct information relating to clinical observations or opinions made in good faith. You have a right to append a short statement of disagreement to your record if we refuse to make a requested change.
If we deny your request for access to your personal information, we will advise you in writing of the reason for the refusal and you may then challenge our decision.
In most cases, an issue is resolved simply by telling us about it and discussing it. You can reach us at:
Brain Injury Community Re-Entry (Niagara) Inc.
3340 Schmon Parkway, Unit 2
Thorold, Ontario, L2V 4Y6
Tel: 905-687-6788 or 1-800-996-8796
Contact person: Heather Olszewski, Privacy Officer
If after contacting us, you feel that your concerns have not been addressed to your satisfaction, we will provide information on other complaint procedures that may be available to you.
Dated: December 2017