POLITICS

Minister says SGI won't change how it collects injury info despite criticism

09/11/2013 02:29 EDT | Updated 11/11/2013 05:12 EST
REGINA - The minister responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance says the corporation will not change the way it collects information on an injury claim, despite criticism from the province's privacy commissioner.

Donna Harpauer says SGI gets all medical information that a doctor's office provides when an injury claim is made.

"The issue that the privacy commission has, is how much information SGI gets. That is whatever the doctor sends, quite frankly," Harpauer said Wednesday.

"I'm not sure how you can vet that information without taking a great deal of the doctors' time and I don't think that's well-used time. I think the doctors should be worried about their patients."

Privacy commissioner Gary Dickson took issue this week with SGI for collecting too much information.

A woman complained to Dickson's office that SGI's collection of her health information was excessive and wasn't needed to process her injury claim. Dickson said in a report that SGI only needed information about a woman's neck and back injuries for an accident claim, but it got her entire medical file —including a note on a sexually transmitted disease she had years earlier.

Harpauer acknowledges the STD information was not relevant to the claim.

"It's absolutely not," she said. "However if the doctor sends it over to SGI, SGI is going to then destroy it or give it back to the claimant."

Dickson said returning personal information when too much is collected "falls short" of adequately addressing the issue. The personal information should not be over-collected in the first place, he said, adding that SGI should revise its procedure to prevent that from happening.

SGI took issue with the privacy commissioner's jurisdiction and said he had no authority to investigate the matter.

Dickson said there's no evidence that the legislative assembly of Saskatchewan "would have intended to create such a gap in legislated privacy protection and that, in fact, there is no such gap as alleged by SGI."

He recommended the government amend legislation to clarify the rules.

Harpauer said that's not something the government is looking at right now.