Who owns your medical records?

Can the insurance company deny you or your Regular doctor a copy of the report from the insurance companies dr? If you are sent to see their doctor for a ‘second opinion’ are you not allowed to have a copy to give to your regular doctor?

Thank you

I am not a lawyer but I have done much research on this.
Parslow v. Masters (1993) SJ No. 210 (Sask. QB). https://www.canlii.org/en/sk/skqb/doc/1993/1993canlii9105/1993canlii9105.html?searchUrlHash=AAAAAQATUGFyc2xvdyB2LiBNYXN0ZXJzIAAAAAAB&resultIndex=1
In Parslow v. Masters,the court held that an insured person is entitled to production of IME reports on the basis that the patient had a personal interest in medical documentation pertaining to him- or herself. The judge relied on the principles set out in the Supreme Court of Canada decision McInerney v. Macdonald,[5] and concluded:

“While it is true that Great-West paid for the medical report in respect of Parslow, it is also true that Parslow was required to disclose private and personal information about herself to enable Masters to prepare the report. In this respect, a physician-patient relationship was created, even if the purpose of the medical consultation with Masters was not to enable him to advise Parslow and prescribe a course of treatment for her…. There is at best only a difference of degree and not of substance in the situation where the patient attends a physician for a third party medical rather than for professional services.”

Depending on your province you may have a Privacy Act or Privacy Commissioner for whom you can follow their policies or guidelines. If not you can check PIPEDA. If it was myself I would attempt to get the information directly from the Doctor
by serving the appropriate request as well as on the Insurance Company. You can also request your claim file. under PIPEDA.

My personal opinion is to have to show up for an examination and not be allowed the results is psychological torture. Again, I am not a lawyer but there are many privacy decisions that do support your right to access your medical reports and file! Do your research on your provincial privacy laws and PIPEDA.
The Doctor owns the record but you own your personal information. I am not sure if you had to sign any forms where you may have inadvertently given up any rights.

My advice to anyone before going to an IME is to request in advance any required consent forms to be sent to you prior to the appointment for review. You can also request it to be recorded.
Also it is wise to schedule an appointment with your own doctor after the appointment-preferably on the same day.

No lawyer would ever advise anyone to secretly record the appointment but it could help in keeping accurate notes after or for your own proof if anything is inaccurate. Again, no lawyer would ever advise to do that but I am not a lawyer and I would for my own protection.

The Courts in Canada have held that people have a legal right to a copy of any medical record that include information about their personal or health information. This right extends to medical reports produced in the course independent medical examinations. Even though this is the law, insurance companies will often refuse to provide these reports to the person. They know most people will not take steps to enforce their rights. I have found many doctors believe they are not allowed to give these reports to you and are worried about being sued by the insurance company, or cut off from future work opportunities, if they give out copies of these reports as required by law.

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I understand why a person would want to secretly record a doctor they believe to be dishonest, but I believe you should never do this in the context of trying to win a disability case. Rather than provide protection, it will hurt your chances of winning your disability claim.

I have had this issue come up in cases I have handled and it has never been helpful to us winning the case. If a client of mine secretly records a doctor after hiring me, I immediately withdraw from the case. If I find out a client has done this before hiring me, I would probably not take on that client because of the harm I know it will do to the person’s credibility, even if the information on the tape shows the doctor is dishonest.

Winning a disability case comes down to one thing “your credibility”. You need to do everything possible to avoid from fitting into stereotypes and biases people hold against people who have been denied disability payments. Secretly recording a doctor will be viewed as dishonest, calculating and devious, not matter how good your intentions. You will be unwittingly fitting into the stereotypes we are fighting against to win the case.

It is essential to do everything possible to maintain your credibility in the eyes of the court who will be the ultimate decision maker on a disability case. When you secretly record he doctor it harms your credibility. There are many other ways we can show the doctor is a liar, dishonest or has some other improper agenda.

I agree it is a good idea to get the forms sent you in advance so there are no surprises when you arrive for the appointment.

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Patients/claimants have the legal right to record medical office visit. Insurance companies have also the right to use surveillance.
Both parties have a duty to act in good faith. It is unfortunate that your experience has been it harms the credibility of the individual on claim.
I believe that you hope for the best and prepare for the worst and record the appointment( or if doing rehabilitation or vocational under the policy-record.)
If you don’t want to do it in secret, then let it be a condition of the appointment.
From my personal experience I would record secretly. You don’t have to ever tell anyone. You also won’t have to live with the regret if you didn’t record.

This is my personal experience-and my husbands claim has not been denied. Had we not recorded I am sure what he was put through would have pushed him to take his life.
Also a false medical report could cause issues for other benefits-like CPP-D.
Protect yourself.

The post above is for those who are not represented. Always follow your lawyers advice and be 100% truthful to your lawyer.
Credibility is everything so never exaggerate or hide information. Recording helps to keep good records as you can then make accurate notes of what occurred.
You have an obligation to mitigate and follow treatment. You do not have to be naive and be exploited by anyone.

Most cases are settled before court.

All health professional, vocational professionals and Physicians have an obligation to know the Provincial and Federal privacy law.
I might not get paid if I allow you a copy is not justification for trampling on a person’s right.

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Does this include mental health records? My insurance company said that they will not send any part of my claim file that has to do with my mental health.

The insurance company owns the report. Under federal laws and common law you have a right to access your personal information, including medical records. This is an area of dispute and perhaps the laws have shifted since I last took a deep dive into this issue, but I believe that you have the right to a copy of the report.

David Brannen

Disability Lawyer with Resolute Legal

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