Who should fill out my third-party report, my family doctor or my specialist?
It’s not unusual for patients to require their doctor to fill out some kind of third-party report — such as an application for insurance benefits, or documents related to a workplace issue or legal proceedings — at some point in their lives. If this happens to you, you may hit a common roadblock, where your family doctor says it’s the treating specialist’s responsibility to complete the report, and the specialist says it’s your family doctor’s responsibility. So who is right?
As with many things in health regulation, the answer is: it depends.
If this happens to you, we would direct you to our Third Party Reports policy, which all Ontario physicians are required to follow, but here are a few tips that you should keep in mind:
- Any physician who has had a treating relationship with you has an obligation to complete a third-party report once the request has been made and you’ve provided your consent.
- If you make the request to your family physician, then they have an obligation to provide any relevant information contained in your medical record that is available to them.
- If a specialist receives the request, they have the same obligation to provide information contained in your medical record.
- If the third party is requesting information outside of your family doctor’s scope of practice, or information they do not have access to, your family physician might be limited in what information they can provide. In this case, the information might need to come from your specialist. Your doctors have an obligation to advise you about the limitations of the information and/or opinion they can provide.
- The doctor generally has 60 days to complete the report, unless legislation states otherwise.
- Doctors may require prepayment for the report as long as the report is not related to basic income and health benefits, and you are responsible for making the payment.
As a starting point, you may want to send the request to the doctor whom you feel would have the required information and include a copy of the CPSO’s policy to remind them of their obligations. If a conflict arises, we suggest you request the two physicians have a conversation to determine the best way to proceed and the physician best positioned to provide the required information.
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