Civil Servants urge Government to Back Off Selling
Health Administration to US Firm
The BC Government and Service Employees Union is appealing to the BC
Liberal government to delay its target date for signing up U.S.linked
companies to administer personal data until the B.C. Privacy
Commissioner tables his report.
Liberals seem determined to finalize the contract to administer the
Medical Services Plan and PharmaCare with the U.S. based company,
Maximus, by the end of August," said George Heyman, BCGEU president.
"That's several weeks before the Privacy Commissioner has said he will
be able to review the over 500 submissions he received and issue his
opinion on whether MSP and other personal data can be protected in the
face of the USA Patriot Act.
The BCGEU is one of over 500 organizations that have made submissions
to Privacy Commissioner Loukidelis expressing their concerns about the
risk to their private and confidential information if administration is
outsourced to American companies. Several submissions reportedly have
warned that under the USA Patriot Act, the FBI and other federal
authorities could demand those companies hand over our data without the
knowledge of anyone.
Despite repeated promises during the 2001 election not to privatize
health care services, the Liberals have engaged in wide-spread, and
often disastrous and expensive, privatization initiatives. The recent
move to sell the MSP administration services has been mired in
"I urge the Campbell Liberals to refrain from signing over outsourcing
contracts until the Privacy Commissioner has had time to review the
issues and table his report. Commissioner Loukidelis has said his
report will be delayed until mid-September because of the volume of
submissions and complexity of issues," Heyman said. "The Campbell
Liberals should respect the enormity of his task, and shouldn't be
rushing to get these deals signed, sealed and delivered. There's
just too much at stake."
But Geoff Plant, Liberal Attorney General, and Colin Hansen, health
minister, insist the sell-off will not threaten the security of
people’s medical information.
“The legislation we have passed clearly protects companies operating in
BC from the provisions of the Patriot Act,” Plant told reporters.
“Contracted service providers will not be required to turn over medical
records to US authorities.”