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Who can pick up a patient’s tax receipts?

February 21, 2024
Person using calculator and completing paperwork
It’s approaching tax time, which will bring questions about receipts and medical expense claims.

As we approach personal income tax season, pharmacy teams can anticipate requests about prescription history reports and tax receipts from patients and their family members. Is your pharmacy prepared to offer this service in a manner that adheres to privacy and confidentiality requirements?

Following are answers to some commonly asked questions about patients’ agents collecting tax receipts.

Who can pick up tax receipts on the patient’s behalf?

Prescription receipts for income tax purposes contain individually identifying diagnostic, treatment, and care information, as well as registration information.1 These income tax receipts are considered a patient’s health information. The Health Information Act (HIA) permits disclosure of individually identifying health information to:

  • the individual who is the subject of the information (Section 33),
    • i.e., the patient is requesting information about themself;
  • the authorized representative of the individual (Section 104),
    • i.e., an authorized guardian; or
  • the patient’s agent with the patient’s written authorization (Section 104).

What type of consent is required to release health information to a patient’s agent?

As per the HIA, a patient’s agent, with written authorization from the patient, is authorized to pick up receipts on the patient’s behalf. Consent from the patient must be provided in writing and must include

  • an authorization for the custodian (the pharmacy team member) to disclose the health information specified in the consent;
  • the purpose for which the health information may be disclosed;
  • the identity of the person to whom the health information may be disclosed (the patient’s agent);
  • an acknowledgment that the individual providing the consent (the patient) has been made aware of the reasons why the health information is needed and the risks and benefits to the individual of consenting or refusing to consent;
  • the date the consent is effective and the date, if any, on which the consent expires; and
  • a statement that the consent may be revoked at any time by the individual providing it.

Does the written authorization expire?

The patient’s initial written consent should indicate the effective date and, if any, the expiry date of the consent. The HIA does not describe a specific expiry date. Pharmacy teams should exercise judgement to identify timelines and implement practices that will help to ensure the patient’s consent is still current, has not been revoked, and still applies to the original purpose for which the consent was provided.

Additional resources

For more information, review the HIA and refer to ACP’s guidance document, Helping pharmacists and pharmacy technicians understand the Health Information Act.

  1. In relation to patient information, the Health Information Act (section 1(1)(u)) defines registration information as information relating to an individual that falls within the following general categories and is more specifically described in the regulations:
    (i) demographic information, including the individual’s personal health number;
    (ii) location information;
    (iii) telecommunications information;
    (iv) residency information;
    (v) health service eligibility information;
    (vi) billing information,
    but does not include information that is not written, photographed, recorded or stored in some manner in a record; ↩︎