Yukon Information and Privacy Commissioner
News Release: Over-collection of personal information by Insured Health
Thu, Dec 13, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DECEMBER 13, 2018
IPC finds Insured Health and Hearing Services over-collected health information for the purpose of physician billing
WHITEHORSE – Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) has issued a Consideration Report into a complaint made in late 2016 about Insured Health and Hearing Services in the Department of Health and Social Services. Diane McLeod-McKay determined that the department did not comply with the requirements of the Health Information Privacy and Management Act (HIPMA) in its collection of personal health information for billing purposes and its security of this information.
The complaint originated with a patient of a Yukon doctor. He alleged that the department was collecting more personal health information from his physician, for the purposes of substantiating billing, than is allowed by HIPMA. He also alleged that the department did not have adequate security measures in place to protect this personal health information.
McLeod-McKay found that the department did have the authority under HIPMA to collect personal health information for billing purposes but was collecting more of this information than was necessary. She also found that the department did not meet all the requirements under HIPMA to keep this kind of information secure.
Two recommendations were made by McLeod-McKay. Both were accepted by the department. One is to evaluate the amount of personal health information it is collecting from clinic records to ensure only the minimum amount necessary to process a billing claim is collected. The second is to work in good faith with her office to ensure HIPMA’s information security requirements are met with respect to the information.
An additional concern arose for McLeod-McKay during the Consideration. She encountered
significant difficulties obtaining evidence from the Department of Health and Social Services to complete her consideration of the complaint. After making several requests for documents to the department, she was repeatedly told that the records did not exist.
“In the end, I had to conduct an oral inquiry and question witnesses under oath,” said McLeod-McKay. “This took a significant amount of time and money to complete. During my oral inquiry, witnesses confirmed the records did exist and that some had been destroyed. This demonstrates how important it is for departments to ensure they identify all relevant evidence during a consideration process, preserve it and ensure it is provided to my office as requested. This includes electronic records in a database.”
Diane McLeod-McKay, Information and Privacy Commissioner