With January of 2022 now almost over, we thought that we would update you on a few things.
First of all, is a reminder that renewal of your license is required before the end of January 31. New this year is the ability to pay be e-transfer.
Personal Health Information Amendment Act
The Personal Health Information Amendment Act, which received Royal Assent on May 20, 2021 came into force on January 1, 2022, and contains a number of changes of interest to physiotherapists.
The Act can be accessed at https://web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/statutes/2021/c04721e.php
The Act will amend The Personal Health Information Act (PHIA) to:
- Strengthen the authority of the Ombudsman under the Act, including the authority to audit trustee compliance with the Act.
- Require that an individual and the Ombudsman be notified in a timely manner of a privacy breach relating to the individual’s personal health information that creates a real risk of serious harm to the individual.
- Protect employees, officers and agents of trustees, who report to the Ombudsman contraventions of The Personal Health Information Act by their employer, from adverse employment action for reporting.
- Set out when trustees may disregard requests for access to personal health information or consider such requests to be abandoned.
- Explicitly state that public health information not collected by employment purposes cannot be used for that purpose without the express consent of the employee.
- Establish a new committee (the health research privacy committee) that will be required to approve all health research proposals, which require personal health information from a trustee, instead of the Health Information Privacy Committee and institutional research review committees. The purpose of this amendment is to enable the implementation of a new streamlined approval process for research proposals. All such proposals are also to be approved by an ethics committee to be established by Research Manitoba.
- Extend the limitation period for the prosecution of offences under PHIA.
Further, amendments were made to the Personal Health Information Regulation that came into force on January 1, 2022 to enable implementation of the privacy breach notification requirements for trustees under PHIA, as well as to enable implementation of the new approval process for all health research proposals, which require personal health information from a trustee.
Manitoba Health and Seniors Care has developed a Questions and Answers document (a reference tool for trustees and other stakeholders) on the amendments. The Department has also developed the attached Guidance documents respecting the new privacy breach notification requirements, and the new limited authority to disregard an access request and to determine that an access request has been abandoned. Please click below to access further information.
If you have questions, please contact the Legislative Unit at 204 788-6612 or PHIAinfo@gov.mb.ca
As you are aware, the Omicron variant, which is a highly transmissible variant of COVID-19 has hit Manitoba and most of the world. As I write this Bulletin, the numbers of afflicted people in Manitoba is on the rise, there are reports of staffing shortages in the Police/ Fire and Paramedic services. Public transportation is experiencing staffing shortages, Health care professionals have been affected and shortages have been noticed in that sector. Hospitals are again concerned about capacity.
The Provincial Government and Shared Health have made changes to testing for COVID so rapidly that it is near impossible to keep up with the rules. From what we know and tell you today, may change by tomorrow. PCR tests are being restricted to only certain populations of people. These tests appear to be backlogged and it is taking, in many cases, over a week to get results. However, the Rapid tests are quicker but the results may not be as reliable. These tests are being given away for home use and you must be vigilant to find where and when the tests can be found.
The CPM office has had several enquiries about the types of masks which are recommended for usage. The fitted N95 masks offer the best protection and are recommended for use in Red and Orange Zones. Surgical masks (the blue mask), which are not as well fitted, offer the next best protection. KN95 masks are not considered to be surgical masks. People who attend a health care facility, like a hospital, who come with a KN95 mask, are being asked to remove the KN95 and the facility will replace it with a surgical mask.
Registrants have found other types of masks which purportedly are receiving Health Canada approval. One such mask contains copper which supposedly kills COVID on contact. However, upon review of the Health Canada site, there is no mention of this type of mask being approved for use by health care professionals. Please do your homework if and when you hear about these new devices and masks. They may not be Health Canada approved, although advertised as such.
The COVID-19 point of care risk assessment tool has now been updated and can be accessed here.
If you have questions, please remember to contact the Provincial Hotline at 204-945-3744
As always, stay safe and healthy