Di Paola, Francesca Anne (CPSO#: 87745)

Current Status: Active Member as of 31 Jan 2017

CPSO Registration Class: Independent Practice as of 27 Mar 2017

Indicates a concern or additional information

Summary

Former Name: No Former Name

Gender: Female

Languages Spoken: English

Education:University of Glasgow, 1999

Practice Information

Primary Location of Practice
C A M H
Bell Gateway Bulding
3rd Floor
100 Stokes Street
Toronto ON  M6J 1H4
Phone: (416) 595-6019
Fax: (416) 595-6821
Electoral District: 10
View more practice locations

Additional Practice Location(s)

Bellwood Health Services
175 Brentcliffe Raod
Toronto ON  M4G0C5
Canada
Phone: (416) 495-0926
Fax: (416) 495-7943
County: City of Toronto
Electoral District: 10

Medical Licences in Other Jurisdictions

Effective September 1, 2015, the College by-laws require the College to indicate on the register if the member has a licence or is registered to practise medicine in a jurisdiction outside Ontario, if this is known to the College.

United Kingdom

Hospital Privileges

Hospital Location
Centre for Addiction & Mental Health,Queen Street Site Toronto

Specialties

Specialty Issued On Type
Family Medicine Effective: 22 Jul 2011 CFPC Specialist

Terms and Conditions

Details

(1) Dr. FRANCESCA ANNE DI PAOLA may practise only in the areas of medicine in which Dr. DI PAOLA is educated and experienced.

Postgraduate Training

Please note: This information may not be a complete record of postgraduate training.

University of Toronto, 01 Oct 2007 to 23 Dec 2007
Assessment Verification Period - Family Medicine

University of Toronto, 24 Dec 2007 to 30 Jun 2008
PostGrad Yr 1 - Family Medicine

University of Toronto, 01 Jul 2008 to 30 Jun 2009
PostGrad Yr 1 - Family Medicine

University of Toronto, 01 Jul 2009 to 30 Jun 2010
PostGrad Yr 1 - Family Medicine

University of Toronto, 01 Jul 2010 to 02 Aug 2010
PostGrad Yr 1 - Family Medicine

University of Toronto, 03 Aug 2010 to 02 Aug 2011
PostGrad Yr 2 - Family Medicine

University of Toronto, 01 Jul 2011 to 02 Aug 2011
PostGrad Yr 2 - Family Medicine

University of Toronto, 03 Aug 2011 to 30 Jun 2012
PostGrad Yr 3 - Family Medicine (Enhanced Skills)

University of Toronto, 01 Jul 2012 to 02 Jul 2012
PostGrad Yr 3 - Family Medicine (Enhanced Skills)

Registration History

Action Issue Date
First certificate of registration issued: Pre Entry Assessment Program Certificate Effective: 01 Oct 2007
Transfer of class of registration to: Postgraduate Education Certificate Effective: 24 Dec 2007
Transfer of class of registration to: Independent Practice Certificate Effective: 27 Jul 2011
Transfer of class of certificate to: Restricted certificate Effective: 27 Oct 2016
Terms and conditions imposed on certificate Effective: 27 Oct 2016
Transfer of class of certificate to: Restricted certificate Effective: 27 Oct 2016
Terms and conditions imposed on certificate Effective: 27 Oct 2016
Suspension of registration removed Effective: 31 Jan 2017
Transfer of class of registration to: Independent Practice Certificate Effective: 27 Mar 2017

Previous Hearings

Committee: Discipline
Decision Date: 27 Oct 2016
Summary:

On October 27, 2016, the Discipline Committee of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of 
Ontario found that Dr. Dr. Francesca Anne Di Paola has committed an act of professional 
misconduct in that she has engaged in conduct or an act or omission relevant to the practice of 
medicine that, having regard to all the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by members 
as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional, specifically, by repeatedly accessing 
confidential and sensitive personal health information of Patients A and B without consent or 
legal authority, when she knew she had no authority to do so, and by acting in a conflict of 
interest in relation to Patient A’s care. 
 
Dr. Di Paola, a family physician, practices in the area of addiction medicine at the Centre for 
Addiction and Mental Health (“CAMH”) in Toronto. 
 
Dr. Di Paola had a close personal connection to Patients A and B.  
 
Both Patient A and Patient B have accessed services at CAMH. Patient A was an in-patient at 
CAMH between April and May 2014. 
 
In February 2015, concerned about potential unauthorized access of his medical record by Dr. Di 
Paola, Patient B requested that a “lockbox” be implemented on his medical record at CAMH.  A 
lockbox is a restriction on access to a patient’s medical record, imposed at the request of the 
patient.  In Patient B’s case, he requested that access to his medical record be restricted to two 
specific physicians at CAMH.  He also requested a list of all individuals who had accessed his 
CAMH medical record at any time. 
 
On another date in February 2015, also concerned about potential unauthorized access of her 
medical record by Dr. Di Paola, Patient A requested that a lockbox be implemented on her 
medical record at CAMH, on similar terms to those requested by Patient B.  She also requested a 
list of all individuals who had accessed her CAMH medical record at any time. 
 
DR. DI PAOLA’S ACCESS OF MEDICAL RECORDS  
 
Pursuant to Patient A’s and Patient B’s the requests, CAMH conducted an internal audit which 
revealed that Dr. Di Paola had accessed or attempted to access Patient A’s medical records on 10 
separate dates between May 2012 and August 2014. The audit also revealed that Dr. Di Paola 
had accessed or attempted to access Patient B’s medical records on 9 separate dates between 
May 2012 and September 2014.   
 
Dr. Di Paola did not have consent or any other legal authority to access the medical records of 
Patient A or Patient B on any occasion. 
   
In CAMH’s current database system, iCARE, which was implemented in May 2014, a physician 
must declare that he or she is in a treating relationship with the patient, and set out the nature of 
that relationship, in order to be granted permission to access a patient’s medical records.   
 


 
 

Dr. Di Paola attempted to access Patient A’s medical records through iCARE on a date in August 
2014.  She did not declare a treating relationship with Patient A, and so was not granted access to 
Patient A’s medical records on that date. 
 
Dr. Di Paola attempted to access Patient B’s medical records through iCARE on a date in 
September 2014.  She did not declare a treating relationship with Patient B and so was not 
granted access to Patient B’s medical records on that date. 
 
When Dr. Di Paola accessed Patient B’s medical records through iCARE on a date in September 
2014, she declared herself to be an “Attending Physician” in order to gain access. On that date, 
Dr. Di Paola was the attending physician on the unit where Patient B was a patient, but she did 
not have his consent or legal authority to access his medical records.  Dr. Di Paola also accessed 
Patient B’s medical records through iCARE a few days later. 
 
On a later date in September 2014, Dr. Di Paola, having previously been the attending physician 
on Patient B’s unit, received an Inbox message sent to all of Patient B’s physicians at CAMH.  
Dr. Di Paola did not access Patient B’s medical records through iCARE on that date. 
 
The medical records of Patient A and Patient B accessed by Dr. Di Paola included personal 
health information of a very sensitive nature, namely information related to psychiatric and 
addictions issues.  Patient A and Patient B expected that this information would be kept 
confidential. 
 
In the summer of 2014, Dr. Di Paola was invited to attend a meeting regarding Patient A’s care 
at a hospital by virtue of Dr Di Paola’s close personal relationship with Patient A. This meeting 
was attended by Patient A’s treating physician and by a Children’s Aid Society social worker 
who had been involved with Patient A’s family. At that meeting, Dr. Di Paola took a position 
with respect to Patient A’s access to Patient A’s child that was adverse to the position taken on 
this issue by Patient A’s treating physician.  
 
CAMH POLICIES AND PRIVACY EDUCATION 
 
On December 10, 2012, Dr. Di Paola signed a letter of offer of appointment to the medical staff 
at CAMH. On April 17, 2013, Dr. Di Paola signed a letter of re-appointment to the medical staff 
at CAMH. Each letter provided that, by signing the letter, Dr. Di Paola confirmed that she was 
familiar with the Personal Health Information and Privacy Protection Act and was aware of, and 
agreed to honour, her obligations set out therein.  Each letter also provided that acceptance of the 
appointment entailed Dr. Di Paola’s agreement to govern herself in accordance with all CAMH 
Policies, which included a Privacy Policy.  
 
Dr. Di Paola completed CAMH’s e-learning program on Privacy Fundamentals on April 26, 
2012 and again on August 31, 2014.  
 
Dr. Di Paola was aware each time that she accessed the medical records of Patient A and Patient 
B that she was doing so without authority or consent. 
 


 
 

CAMH DISCIPLINARY ACTION 
 
The Medical Advisory Committee at CAMH, where Dr. Di Paola holds privileges and where the 
breaches of privacy occurred, took disciplinary action against Dr. Di Paola. 
 
The disciplinary action consisted of a two-week unpaid leave of absence; the completion of two 
courses addressing issues relating to professional boundaries and privacy and confidentiality (the 
Boundaries course at the University of Western Ontario, and the Osgoode Hall Law School 
Professional Development course entitled “Legal Guide to Privacy and Information Management 
in Health Care”); and the drafting of three letters of apology, one to Patient A, one to Patient B 
and one to CAMH as an organization. 
 
PENALTY 
 
On October 27, 2016, the Discipline Committee ordered and directed that: 
   -  Dr. Di Paola appear before the panel to be reprimanded; 
   -  The Registrar suspend Dr. Di Paola’s certificate of registration for a period of three (3) 
      months commencing at 12:00 a.m. on October 31, 2016; 
   -  The Registrar impose the following term, condition and limitation on Dr. Di Paola’s 
      certificate of registration: 
         -  Dr. Di Paola will participate in and successfully complete, within six (6) months 
            of the date of this Order, five (5) hours of individualized instruction in medical 
            ethics with an instructor approved by the College, with a report or reports to be 
            provided to the College regarding Dr. Di Paola’s progress and compliance. 
   -  Dr. Di Paola pay costs to the College in the amount of $5,000.00 within 30 days of the 
      date of this Order.

Decision: Download Full Decision (PDF)
Hearing Date(s): October 27, 2016