A Canadian long-term care company is in hot water over its plan to let a chicken farm shred sensitive health documents.
A chicken farm should not be used to dispose of sensitive health documents, said Ron Kruzeniski, Saskatchewan's privacy and information commissioner, as he announced he was cancelling the agreement, according to media sources.
CBC News reported that the privacy office had been investigating Spruce Manor Special Care Home in Dalmeny after some of the residents' health cards ended up in a recycling bin.
The investigation revealed that the home had signed a contract with an undisclosed chicken farm to destroy its confidential records. In the agreement, the farm said it would "agree to accept full responsibility to maintain the security and confidentiality of all documents" received from Spruce Manor Special Care Home, CBC News said.
That's "unacceptable," Kruzeniski said in his report. He noted that the agreement does not specify how the chicken farm planned to "maintain the security and confidentiality" of the personal health information it received.
"I recommend that Spruce Manor Special Care Home no longer use [a] chicken farm to destroy records in spite of the former administrator asserting he had no problems/concerns with the use of the chicken farm," Kruzeniski said in the report.
According to CBC News, it's unclear whether any sensitive documents ever went to the farm. An administrator at Spruce Manor indicated the farm wasn't involved in destroying records.
The care home ended its contract with the chicken farm and said it is looking for a certified company for all future document shredding.
One of ARMA International’s Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles® specifically focuses on proper disposition of records. The Principle states: “An organization shall provide secure and appropriate disposition for records and information that are no longer required to be maintained by applicable laws and the organization’s policies.” The Principle of Disposition goes on further to state: “In many cases, the appropriate disposition will be destruction of the information, in which case the organization must ensure that it is transported securely and destroyed completely and irreversibly.” In practical terms, this frequently means that one of the organization’s employees must observe the destruction of the information. Or, it may mean site inspections to determine that the shredding vendor actually implements the safeguards they claim to have in place.
More information on all eight of the Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles can be found on the ARMA International website at www.arma.org/principles. A particularly useful description of each principle and an Information Governance Maturity Model can be downloaded at: http://arma.org/docs/bookstore/theprinciplesmaturitymodel.pdf?sfvrsn=2