Mental Health Notice of Personal Health Information Practices
Niagara Region Mental Health and the Medical Officer of Health for Niagara recognize that protecting your personal health information is an essential part of our commitment to quality mental health services, programs, and care.
Niagara Region Mental Health adheres to strict rules about how we collect, store, use and share it. These rules can be found in the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (PHIPA). We believe our clients should know what personal health information we collect, how we use it, to whom we disclose it, and how we protect it.
What information do we collect about you?
We collect personal health information from you that may include any details about you, your health and/or your health history. This could include:
- Your name, address or date of birth, and if required your Ontario health card number
- Facts about your health and mental health
- Services you have received to date and any pertinent hospital records
Having access to up-to-date personal health information allows us to provide you with mental health services that meet your needs.
How do we collect your personal health information?
We collect personal health information about you, directly from you, or from the person who is legally acting on your behalf.
If you were referred to a Niagara Region Mental Health service, we may also collect information that was given to us from one of your other healthcare providers, such as your family doctor, hospital, psychiatrist or mental health professional.
How do we store the information we collect from you?
When we collect your personal health information, we do so through face-to-face meetings, the phone, written materials and with electronic documents. Niagara Region Mental Health uses an electronic health record program and office based files to keep your personal health information in one location.
Niagara Region Mental Health also has access to provincial health records to obtain hospital information or clinical assessments. Only individual mental health staff providing service to you can collect your information.
How will we use the information we collect from you?
When we collect personal health information, we do so to promote and protect health and to provide services to meet your needs. Specifically, we will use your personal health information to provide service.
Additionally, your personal health information might be used to:
- Plan, deliver and evaluate our mental health services
- Notify you of an appointment or change to an appointment
- Ensure your safety and the safety of the community
- Make administrative decisions to plan future programming
How to access, or make a correction to, your personal health information
You can ask to see the personal health information we have on record at any time. If you believe the information we have on record is incorrect or incomplete, you can request to make a correction to that information. Contact your case manager by calling 905-688-2854 or 1-800-263-7248.
If you would like to obtain a complete copy of your health record, contact our privacy office:
Information and Privacy Advisor
Office of the Regional Clerk
1815 Sir Isaac Brock Way, P.O. Box 1042
Thorold, ON L2V 4T7
1-905-980-6000 ext. 3273
How we protect your personal health information
Whether your records are paper or electronic, we are responsible for keeping your personal health information private and confidential. We take steps to protect your personal health information from theft, loss and unauthorized access, copying, modification, use, disclosure and disposal.
Part of keeping your information secure is using safe storage. Paper records are kept in locked files or secured areas and only accessible to your healthcare providers. Any electronic records require a password to access them and can only be used by people who are providing you with health care.
We conduct audits and complete investigations to monitor and manage your privacy.
Will we ever disclose your information to anyone else?
We will share your personal health information with other healthcare providers if they need that information to provide you with safe and timely care.
However, please be aware that Niagara Region Mental Health has a legal and professional responsibility to notify the proper authorities:
- When a Mental Health team member assesses that you may harm yourself or others
- Where there is suspicion of abuse or risk of abuse to a child under 16
- When your health records are required by court order
- Where certain health matters could affect the health or safety of the public, as outlined in the Health Protection and Promotion Act or other legislation
What are my consent choices as a client?
With your consent, a family member, significant other or legal representative can access your personal health information. You can be specific about what information you would like us to share.
You also have the right to change the conditions of your consent, or cancel a previous consent at any time.
We're committed to addressing your concerns about the way your personal health information is collected, used, or shared. If you have questions about this privacy statement, our privacy policies or our procedures please contact our Information and Privacy Advisor at 1-905-980-6000 ext. 3273.
You can also make a complaint directly with the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner. The commissioner can be reached at:
Information and Privacy Commissioner / Ontario
2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400
Toronto, ON M4W 1A8
1-800-387-0073 or 416-326-3333