February 14, 2011

HPRB Summaries: Exclusion of information from the record

Administrative Law
Health Professions Review Board
Professional Regulation

Examples of when the Health Professions Review Board will or will not receive evidence in confidence to the exclusion of a party may be seen in Complainant v. The College of Dental Surgeons of BC, HPRB Decision No. 2009-HPA-0090(a), a case involving a complaint concerning the improper installation of a crown and a bridge, and an unnecessary root canal.

The Review Board granted, in part, an application that parts of the record be received to the exclusion of the complainant, to the extent of the names of patients other than the Complainant, but not with respect to the results of chart reviews concerning the Registrant’s crown and bridge practice, or the Registrant’s complaint history.

Concerning the results of chart reviews, although the College submitted that the chart reviews were voluntary and conducted on the basis of confidentiality, such that registrants might not participate in such reviews if results could be released to complainants, the Review Board found that the chart reviews were integral to the investigation, and relevant to both the adequacy of the investigation, and to the reasonableness of the disposition by the Inquiry Committee. The potential negative effect of disclosure on the conduct of registrants in investigations was “mere speculation”. The chart reviews were confidential and should not be disclosed to the general public, but this did not prevent disclosure to the Complainant, unless non-disclosure was necessary to ensure the proper administration of justice.

The question of the relevance of the Registrant’s complaint history was a matter for the hearing panel. Since the record did not contain any reference to the nature or disposition of previous complaints, the history could not be used to establish any propensity to act in a certain way, or prejudice his interest in the review.

Complainant v. The College of Dental Surgeons of BC, HPRB Decision No. 2009-HPA-0090(a) (January 25, 2011)