Province introduces new legislation that would allow medical records to be disclosed without consent

Manitoba Finance Minister Cameron Friesen.
Manitoba Finance Minister Cameron Friesen. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

The Manitoba government has introduced new legislation that would allow disclosure of personal health information in certain circumstances.

The proposed changes were announced Tuesday by the Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen.

It would allow for a patient`s personal health information to be released without their consent in exceptional circumstances, to reduce the risk of serious harm to themselves or others.

“There have been incidents in Manitoba where health-care professionals were prevented from conveying their concerns to a patient’s support network that have ended in tragedy,” Friesen said.

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A change to the Personal Health Information Act would allow people such as caregivers, loved-ones or support people to obtain the records if doing so would reduce the risk of serious harm being done to the health or safety of the patient.

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The Mental Health Act would also be amended to so that a patient’s clinical record in a psychiatric facility could be disclosed without consent.

“These common-sense changes to legislation successfully weighs the health and well-being of individuals against the importance of safeguarding their personal health information,” Friesen said.

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According to Friesen, a review is underway for the PHIA legislation, and that more amendments may be considered and introduced in 2019.