At Natural Health Services (NHS), we take your privacy very seriously. Our staff goes through extensive training to keep your information confidential. We even have a Privacy Officer, Kristi, who ensures everyone is always on the same page with regards to the importance of privacy, and the rules that apply.
We asked Kristi a few questions we sometimes get from our patients. This will be an ongoing conversation, so if any questions come to mind shoot me an email and we’ll try to answer it in an upcoming blog.
For now, here is an introduction…
Kait: Tell us about your role with Natural Health Services.
Kristi: My position as the Privacy Officer for NHS revolves around ensuring the company complies with privacy laws. As such, I am responsible for providing guidance on privacy laws, regulations across Canada and implementing policies and procedures.
I am responsible for creating a privacy program that implements policies and processes to enable consistent, and effective privacy practices within the organization. Privacy and information security are a top priority, and when effective practices are implemented, we can minimize risk to the organization and ensure the security of our patients’ health information.
Some of our patients would prefer to keep their medical cannabis authorizations private, even from their family doctor. Is this possible?
The only way your family doctor would know about your medical cannabis use would be if you disclosed this information directly.
We have some patients in the airline industry who no longer want to take opiates for pain management but fear being flagged, and perhaps prohibited, from international travel. Is this a risk they face?
Canadian Air Transportation Security Authority (CATSA) provides guidance when it comes to travelling domestically with your medical cannabis. Nevertheless, cannabis law in foreign countries vary greatly, with extremely severe punishments in some jurisdictions for simple possession and consumption. Even when travelling to countries with permissive cannabis laws, Canada’s export laws prohibit taking cannabis out of the country. Therefore, you should NOT bring your medical cannabis across borders.
When I cross the border to travel into the United States, does Homeland Security have access to my medical records?
No, Homeland Security does not have access to your medical records, but they may have access to information about you via a database managed by the RCMP known as the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC). CPIC is a national information-sharing system that links criminal justice and law enforcement partners across Canada and internationally.
Police in Canada can make a record any time they are actively involved with a person. This can include information about incidents where the police respond to a person needing mental health services. In these circumstances, police may record information about the mental health of the person.
Given that the CPIC is an information sharing system, the CPIC provides their database to the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency. This is the information used to determine, in part, who can enter the United States.
Thanks, Kristi! We look forward to our next chat!
We hope this helps clear up a couple questions we regularly get from our patients.
— Kait Shane, Director of Community Outreach Natural Health Services. Follow Kait on Twitter @Medikait.
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