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How does HIM process RCMP/Police requests?

Our HIM staff will cooperate with law enforcement to ensure requests are handled appropriately, in an efficient way to maximize care and safety.

​Typically, HIM staff will only release a copy of a record with the patient's consent or a search warrant; However, in matters of patient and/or public safety, our staff has the discretion to verbally release information to law enforcement, such as confirming or denying current admission. If there is a missing person, or the person is a danger to themselves, our staff will also confirm information verbally when contacted by law enforcement. 

Required documents for submitting a request

Typically, the following documents are required by law enforcement to prior to making a request of information regarding a patient:

  • patient consent
  • search warrant 
  • production order 
  • court order required
A search warrant / production order / court order not required if information is sought:
(a) to assist in a specific law enforcement investigation; or
(b) in relation to a person brought to hospital by police under the Mental Health Act, on a need-to-know basis, for the following purposes
(“Care and Safety Purposes”):
    • to assess risk to the person’s own safety or the safety of others;
    • to provide appropriate care, response and service to a person
    • with a mental illness and to those who could reasonably be
    • impacted by the actions of that person; or
    • to protect the health or safety of staff (VCH staff or police staff).

Who is responsible to approve release of information to law enforcement?

Staff in Charge may approve release of client information in response to a request by law enforcement. 
“Staff in Charge” means the person in charge at the unit or ward caring for the client at the time of the 
request. Examples of Staff in Charge include Charge Nurse, team leader, manager, coordinator or 

How your requests are processed

  1. Police may request information verbally or in writing. The requestor must have complete (or our Staff may complete) the “Request by Law Enforcement for Release of Information” form. The Form should indicate whether the request is made for a law enforcement investigation or for Care and Safety Purposes and should briefly provide reasons for the request.
  2. Staff may release the requested information with approval of the Staff in Charge. Staff may contact Risk Management, Legal Services or the Information Privacy Office for assistance or advice.
  3. If notification is to be provided in advance of discharge, staff will ensure there is a process in place to provide notification including contacting E-Comm 9-1-1 with the police file number.
  4. A copy of the  “Request by Law Enforcement for Release of Information” form will be sent to the Health Authority privacy office and the orginal will be in the client chart or documented in the in the health record.

SOURCE: How does HIM process RCMP/Police requests? ( )
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