Bulletin 230907 — Changes to the Independent Health Facilities Sector
The Integrated Community Health Services Centres Act, 2023 will come into force replacing the Independent Health Facilities Act, 1990
To: General Public & Current Independent Health Facilities Licensees
Category: Independent Health Facilities
Written by: Health Insurance Branch, Clinical Care and Delivery Division
Date issued: September 27, 2023
Bulletin Number: 230907
The Integrated Community Health Services Centres Act, 2023 (ICHSCA) comes into force on September 25, 2023, along with its supporting regulation (O. Reg 215/23). The ICHSCA repeals and replaces the Independent Health Facilities Act (IHFA).
Independent Health Facilities will now be licensed as Integrated Community Health Services Centres under the ICHSCA and referred to commonly as community surgical and diagnostic centres.
This new legislation will enable the government to strengthen quality assurance and patient safety, introduce protections from user charges, ensure greater system integration for centres and the stability of health human resources in hospitals. In addition to these new measures, the ministry is supporting cross-government initiatives to eliminate red tape by removing fees for ICHSC applications and licence changes.
The new legislation will also enable the government to expand the scope of community surgical and diagnostic centres to address regional needs with a focus on Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Computed Tomography (CT) imaging, Gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy procedures and orthopedic surgeries.
Removal of administrative fees
As a part of cross-government efforts to reduce red tape and administrative burdens, the ministry is removing administrative fees associated with ICHSC licences. The ministry will no longer charge for licence applications, ministry approvals on licence renewals and other licensing changes, effective on the day of proclamation. This removal of application fees will promote greater efficiency in community surgical and diagnostic centre licensing and quality assurance processes.
Transparency for patients - Centre’s uninsured services
The existing protections for patients against user charges will be carried over from the IHFA to the ICHSCA.
It is an offence for centres to charge an insured person a facility cost for delivering an insured service, or to charge a patient to receive insured services faster than anyone else.
In addition to these existing protections, the new legislation and accompanying regulation now require licensees to post information on the uninsured services offered by the centre both on the centre’s website, if any, and at a visible place within the centre.
Centres are now required to post:
- A full list of prices for all uninsured services offered by the centre
- The process for obtaining patient consent in connection with those uninsured services
- The phone number and email address for the ministry’s Protecting Access to Public Healthcare Program
- The centre’s process for receiving and responding to patient complaints
Enhanced patient complaint process
The ICHSCA includes new measures to make each centre’s complaints process more transparent and accessible for patients. Licensed centres will be required to establish and maintain a process for receiving and responding to patient complaints.
Additionally, effective September 25, 2023, the Ontario Patient Ombudsman’s authority has expanded to include community surgical and diagnostic centres licensed under the ICHSCA. If the complaint cannot be resolved with the centre or if the complainant is unsatisfied with the outcome, patients can make a complaint to the Ontario Patient Ombudsman either online, by mail or by phone.
Licensing of new community surgical and diagnostic centres
As the Ministry works to expand the scope of community surgical and diagnostic centres, the licensing of these new centres will be done through Call for Applications processes. While there are no Calls for Applications underway at this time, future Calls will be publicly communicated. Parties interested in obtaining a licence under the ICHSCA are encouraged to review the application requirements and other considerations detailed in the new legislation.
INFOBulletin category name change for “Independent Health Facilities”
The OHIP INFOBulletin category “Independent Health Facilities” has changed. The category has been renamed “Community surgical and diagnostic centres”. Those signed up to get “Independent Health Facilities” by email will receive emails under the renamed category.
New program area contact information
Ministry of Health
Health Insurance Branch
Integrated Community Health Services Centres Program
49 Place d’Armes, 5th Floor
Kingston ON K7L 5J3
Program area contact information
- Tel: 613-548-6637
- Fax: 613-548-6734
- Email: ICHSC@ontario.ca
Your Health Act; IHFP; ICHSC; Independent Health Facilities; Integrated Community Health Services Centres; proclamation
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