Under the CF Grievance Procedure, a member is very often asks to provide a BLANKET AUTHORIZATION to personnel staffing his or her grievance giving them absolute and total disclosure, use and access to ALL of their personnel records, including their MEDICAL and HOSPITAL records. Most surprisingly such a probing and unnecessary invasive procedure to their confidential healthcare information has been adopted by the Grievance Authority and the Military Grievances External Review Committee (MGERC).
As a result the several staff officers who handle the grievance file – none of whom possessing the knowledge, experience and training required actually understand such specialized and sensitive information – are given unlimited and unrestricted access to one’s entire set of medical and hospital records and to make use , in whole or in part, of such healthcare information as the basis of their analysis. Information in medical records is considered to be highly private and sensitive.
Given that these individuals are not trained and licensed as health care practitioners they have NO professional and ethical obligation to keep confidential such privileged and sensitive information. In case of an unauthorized disclosure or a leak, the grievor would be left with a very banal recourse such as a complaint under the Privacy Act which provides no remedies (or professional discipline outcomes) as it would if a complaint were made against a healthcare practitioner.
NOTE . Healthcare practitioners normally includes doctors, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, medical consultants, medical laboratories involved in the delivery of of healthcare services
We raised our concern with the MGERC in August 2015. To our surprise and much disappointment, the MGERC maintained its reliance on the Consent Form as worded below which authorizes the holus bolus disclosure of one’s medical records. According to the MGERC, it is up to the grievor to decide whether or not to strike out the offending works (as highlighted below.) Pity since this is a very long way from what would be expected from an organization such as the CF who should only rely on “informed consent” which is currently not the case.
In our considered opinion, information provided to a health care professional should never be disclosed to a layperson, let alone one’s employer, unless there are very compelling reasons for doing so. As importantly, any such authorization should be carefully limited and restricted to specific information that which was created over a very specific and limited period of time. [For instance, healthcare records created after the motor vehicle accident (MVA) which took place on April 5, 2014 and related to injuries sustained in the MVA).
As a matter of practice, we regularly advise our clients to completely STRIKE OUT the words medical or hospital notes or notes connected with any medical treatment contained on the CONSENT FORM (The actual wording of the form is shown below).
In case of doubt, a CF member should seek legal advice before signing such a Consent Form since once consent provided his or her right to privacy over his or her health care information will be compromised,
PROTECTED A (when completed)
To: Canadian Armed Forces
Grievor’s name:[Rank] [Name]
Grievance Number: 5080-1-______________
I consent to the release to the various organizations involved in the Canadian Armed Forces Grievance System, Including the Canadian Armed Forces Grievance Authority and the Military Grievances External Review Committee, of all personal information that may be relevant to the resolution of my grievance, such as personnel records, reports, documents or data, medical or hospital notes or notes connected with any medical treatment or counselling provided to me. I expressly authorize the examination of such information by any person retained to review my grievance. The Canadian Armed Forces and the Military Grievances External Review Committee are committed to respecting the privacy of individuals whose grievances are being considered. All personal information will be handled in accordance with the provisions of the Privacy Act and Canadian Armed Forces Regulations.
Dated this __________________ day of _______________________________at _________________________ in the Province of