I’m Kate Dewhirst.

I’m a lawyer who writes about legal issues affecting healthcare in Canada

Kate Dewhirst Health Law - bringing the law to life. Meet Kate (in 13 seconds)

Category: Employers


Protect yourself and your healthcare organization! Review your employment contract template and termination release language (Guest Blogger: Maria McDonald)

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By Maria McDonald, McDonald HR Law You ask your lawyer to draft your health organization’s employment contract or termination release language because you want it done right. You want to limit your exposure for termination pay in an employment contract You want to ensure the termination release prevents the employee from raising any more legal… Read more »


Key issues hospitals need to manage when recruiting non-licensed MDs to non-medical positions

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Not everyone who trains as a physician practices medicine or continues to practice medicine. Some choose to work in a hospital environment but not as a physician such as in administration, research, information technology, finance, risk, law, policy, public relations, or interdisciplinary professional practice. Medical training can be an enormous advantage for a candidate applying… Read more »


New mandatory reporting requirement for NPs of unfit drivers

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As of July 1st, Nurse Practitioners (nurses in the extended class) in Ontario must now report certain conditions and impairments that could negatively impact an individual’s ability to drive. NPs join physicians and optometrists in this mandatory reporting duty. For all my family health teams, nurse practitioner-led clinics, community health centres, Aboriginal Health Access Centres,… Read more »


Watch departing employees – what happens if they have health records at home?

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Decision 69 of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario was just released. A former hospital employee (registered health professional who was employed as a Research Coordinator) removed 15 health records, 36 research files and 2 data collection sheets from the hospital’s premises without authorization. The hospital notified police – although the hospital did not… Read more »


Wow. I wasn’t expecting that! Managing volatile situations in health care

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Health care organizations of all shapes and sizes deal with volatile situations involving patients (or clients or residents) and family members or caregivers. Remember this case from last year of the woman at a health clinic who was yelling racist comments about wanting to see a “white doctor” and getting increasingly angry that only “brown doctors with… Read more »


What you say matters: Mission, vision and values

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What commitments have you made to your patients, team members and the public? When I work with a healthcare organization through a difficult situation (like a patient complaint or a privacy breach) I always look at their mission, vision and values.  These public statements should guide all decision making through difficult times.  These statements are your guide… Read more »


Stop and think before you post any of the following on social media

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If you are a health care leader, at some point you have wondered about the risks of social media. You know you need to use social media platforms to share your organizational message. And you may want to expand what you are doing though social media in order to stay relevant with your patient population like add… Read more »


Catalyst conversations – raising issues in a way people will listen

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The other day I was a pedestrian on the sidewalk waiting for the traffic light to turn green. Up rode a young guy on a bicycle – on the sidewalk. Honestly, I hadn’t noticed he was on the sidewalk.  But a woman next to me did. And she instantly tore into him. “How dare you… Read more »


Managing Every Day Complaints in Health Care

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I recently surveyed administrative and clinical team members at a family health team and discovered the top 5 issues that lead patients or families to complain where the conversation can get heated: Being told they cannot receive test results over the phone for a family member without the patient’s consent Long wait times Not being able to receive… Read more »


Managing difficult employees – 6 minute video

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Maria McDonald of McDonald Human Resources Law and I just did a webinar on “Managing difficult employees and how to terminate employment with compassion” for a group of family health teams. Watch this 6-minute video to learn some tips from Maria when dealing with performance management. Interested in joining our Legal Issues for Family Health Teams… Read more »


Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Team Privacy Training Events

September 28; October 10,11,17 and 18; and November 8

For Primary Care clinics and FHTs

Kate trains health professionals from many more primary care organizations how being privacy-respectful can improve therapeutic relationships. more details...

Primary care webinar: “Five-Oh! How to manage visits from the police.”

October 12, 2018, 12 noon

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

What do you do when a police officer arrives and wants information about a patient? What do you have to do, and what should you do?

Full details and registration here.

Privacy Officer training

October 2 through November 6, 2018

Kate’s next training course for Privacy Officers in health organizations.

Open to all health Privacy Officers, as well as those hoping to become Privacy Officers. Full details and registration here.

Advanced Privacy Officer training

November 13, 2018

For experienced Privacy Officers within healthcare organisations.

This one day training course focuses on how to handle difficult privacy situations using real-life (but anonymized) case studies and role-play. Full details and registration here.

Kate Dewhirst Health Law

Kate says:

My mission is bringing the law to life. I make legal theory understandable, accessible and fun! I’m available and love to work for all organizations in the healthcare sector across Ontario and beyond.

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