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Information release - Joint statement regarding medical information exposure
Friday, February 19, 2010

The following statement was issued today by Karen McGrath, CEO of Central Health and Leslie Galway, CEO of the Workplace, Health, Safety and Compensation Commission (the Commission).   

Over the past 20 months, the Commission has been part of a working group and the sponsor of a registry project to collect data associated with work history and health status of workers employed at the Baie Verte mine site. The Baie Verte Miners Registry project recognizes past asbestos exposure for individuals working at the Baie Verte mine. The Registry will preserve important health and employment information for former employees which will assist with any future claims for compensation related to asbestos exposure.  

The Commission contracted Memorial University researchers to develop this registry.  As a part of their work, researchers obtained 860 signed consent forms from individuals to allow access to their medical charts. The Registry will be comprised only of information relating to individuals who provided signed consent.  

Central Health and the Commission have learned that approximately 580 additional medical charts without signed consent forms were viewed by two researchers while at the Baie Verte Peninsula Health Care Centre.    

Our current understanding is that during the research, statistical information was gathered from these medical charts. We understand that the resulting database is separate from the Registry and did not include any information identifying the individuals whose medical charts were accessed. To our knowledge the database has not been used in any way by the researchers. Steps are being taken to ensure that this anonymous information is returned to Central Health.  

Central Health and the Commission have also notified the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of the occurrence and the Commission has requested that Memorial University review its participation in the matter.  

The Commission and its working group partners are committed to completing the Baie Verte Miners Registry Project for the benefit of the workers employed at the Baie Verte mine site. 

Contact information: 
Chris Flanagan
Director of Communications
Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission
Phone: (709) 778-1590 
Roger Pike
Director of Communications
Central Health Regional Office
Phone: (709) 292-1289 

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