The Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA)
requires Naturopathic Doctors to notify the local medical officer of health
in their Public Health Unit as soon as possible if they believe that the person that they are treating has, or may have, a reportable disease, such as influenza, Lyme disease and mumps. The complete list of reportable diseases can be found in the "Specification of Reportable Diseases" regulation (O.Reg. 559/91) made under the HPPA. For the purposes of this article, we will refer to the report as the Reportable Disease Report.
According to the "Reports" regulation (O. Reg. 569), a Reportable Disease Report must contain the following information about the person:
- name and address in full,
- date of birth in full,
- sex, and
- date of onset of symptoms.
The ND is also required to provide any additional information regarding the reportable disease that the medical officer of health considers necessary.
In the case of specified diseases, including but not limited to chicken pox and measles, the "Reports" regulation requires the member to provide information in addition to that which is listed above. This includes (but is not limited to) the date of the diagnosis, laboratory findings, current treatment of the infection and the travel history of the person. All reporting requirements can be found in the "Reports" regulation. It is important for NDs to be aware of the varying reporting requirements when completing a Reportable Disease Report (Regulation 569).
The duty to report reportable diseases, includes providing identifying information and as such does not require the patient to first provide consent to disclose his or her personal health information.
The HPPA provides that a civil action, or other proceeding, cannot be commenced against an ND if he or she made a Reportable Disease Report "in good faith." This means that as long as the ND does his or her best, and does not file a Reportable Disease Report with malice or ill intent, he or she will be statutorily protected. If an ND fails to make a Reportable Disease Report when it is required, he or she can be found guilty of a provincial offence. This could result in a fine of up to $5,000 for every day, or part of a day, that the Ontario naturopath fails to comply. Further, it could also be considered an act of professional misconduct by the College.
Public Health Unit locations and contact information
Health Protection and Promotion Act, 1990
O. Reg. 559/91
R.R.O. 1990, Reg 569