Overview

Through Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care, Ontario is making it easier and faster for people to receive publicly funded surgeries and procedures closer to home.

For over 30 years, community surgical and diagnostic centres (formerly known as Independent Health Facilities) have been a part of Ontario’s publicly funded health care system. These community-based health care centres are licensed to provide a range of OHIP insured services under the Integrated Community Health Services Centres Act (ICHSCA). There are currently over 900 licensees in operation throughout Ontario, with the majority of them providing diagnostic imaging services.

Services offered by community surgical and diagnostic centres include:

  • cataract and other eye surgeries
  • plastic surgeries (OHIP insured)
  • minimally invasive gynecological surgery
  • abortion
  • birth centres
  • dialysis
  • routine diagnostic imaging
  • MRI/CT and PET scans
  • nuclear medicine
  • pulmonary function studies
  • sleep studies

All community surgical and diagnostic centres licensed under the ICHSCA are required to comply with the quality and safety standards and participate in a mandatory Quality Assurance program to ensure safe patient care. Each centre has a designated quality assurance advisor who is responsible for maintaining quality and safety standards as set and inspected by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and the College of Midwives of Ontario (Birthing Centres only).

You can contact the Integrated Community Health Services Centres Program by:

  • mail:
    Ministry of Health
    Health Insurance Branch
    Integrated Community Health Services Centres Program
    49 Place d’Armes, 5th Floor
    Kingston ON K7L 5J3
  • phone: 613-548-6637
  • fax: 613-548-6734
  • email: ICHSC@ontario.ca

Find a community surgical and diagnostic centre

The Community Surgical and Diagnostic Centre Listing has a complete list of all licensed centres in Ontario and includes:

  • the address and contact information for all centres
  • a list of OHIP-insured services offered at each centre
  • the date and results of the most recent quality assurance inspection

 

Please note: Requisitions for insured services are valid at any Ontario location providing the same service. Patients have the choice of where to receive their services and are not limited to the location that is printed on the requisition form.

 

OHIP-insured services at community surgical and diagnostic centres

For a complete list of OHIP-insured services delivered at community surgical and diagnostic centres, please visit the website.

It is illegal for centres to:

  • charge you for services that are insured by OHIP
  • charge you for preferential access to OHIP-insured services

It is also illegal for you to be charged facility costs (for example, a fee for overhead or operating costs) relating to insured services offered in licensed centres.

Some community surgical and diagnostic centres may also offer non OHIP-insured services and options. When receiving care at a centre, you must be given the option to receive only OHIP-insured services.

You will also be able to see a list of any uninsured services that a centre may offer and the cost for each service. Centres are required to post an up-to-date list of costs associated with all uninsured services and options on the centre’s website, if applicable, and in a visible place within the centre.

If you believe you may have been charged for an insured service (including for facility costs that supported an insured service) or for preferential access to an insured service, please contact the Ministry of Health by e-mail at protectpublichealthcare@ontario.ca or by phone at Toll-free: 1-888-662-6613 with the details, including the name of the centre and the insured service. The ministry investigates all complaints submitted.

If the ministry finds that a person has paid for an insured service or part of an insured service, the ministry will make sure the full amount of the unauthorized payment is returned to that person. 

Please see the Protecting Access to Public Healthcare Program for more details.

Quality and patient safety

Each community surgical and diagnostic centre must abide by quality and safety standards to ensure that the centre is safe for patient care.

Licensees are required to appoint and maintain a quality assurance advisor as well as an advisory committee.

The quality assurance advisor:

  • provides advice regarding the quality and safety standards of services provided in the centre as set and inspected by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) and the College of Midwives of Ontario (for Birthing Centres only)
  • chairs the advisory committee which is made up health professionals that reflect the services offered by the centre

Facility inspection

All centres undergo a facility inspection every 5 years and the most recent results are posted on the Community Surgical and Diagnostic Centre Listing.

Inspections may be conducted more frequently if prompted by:

  • the outcome of previous inspections
  • a change in ownership
  • an addition of new services
  • external complaints 

Patient complaint process

Every community surgical and diagnostic centre must have a process for receiving and responding to patient complaints.

Before you begin the process, confirm that the centre is licensed on the Community Surgical and Diagnostic Centre Listing.

Gather details about your complaint

For any complaint, it’s important to provide the following information:

  • details of the complaint
  • supporting documentation (such as emails, medical reports, etc.)
  • full name of patient
  • consent from the patient if making a complaint on their behalf
  • patient’s health card number
  • names and addresses of the centre(s) visited
  • dates and type of service(s) received
  • any relevant physician/staff names (if known)

You can choose to remain anonymous while filing a complaint, however choosing not to provide a name or contact information may limit the action the organization can take to address the complaint.

Determine where to submit your complaint

Depending on the nature of the complaint, the complaint can be filed with:

  • the centre
  • the Ontario Patient Ombudsman
  • a regulatory college

Submitting a complaint to the centre

Start by trying to resolve the complaint directly with the community surgical and diagnostic centre. The centre is often able to address the concerns you have with the services received, including:

  • helpfulness of staff
  • clarity of information or directions given prior to the appointment
  • timeliness of the service
  • timeliness of results
  • quality and safety of the service or centre

Submitting the complaint to the Ontario Patient Ombudsman

The Ontario Patient Ombudsman is an independent, arm’s length organization authorized to receive, respond to, and help resolve complaints from patients about their experience in a community surgical and diagnostic centre.

If your complaint can’t be resolved with the centre or if you’re unsatisfied with the outcome, you can make a complaint to the Ontario Patient Ombudsman.

Complaints can be made by:

Submitting complaints to a health care professional regulatory body

If the complaint is about the services received from a licensed health professional, you should contact the college that regulates that health professional.

College of Medical Radiation and Imaging Technologists of Ontario - for complaints related to services provided by a technologist or sonographer

College of Midwives of Ontario - for complaints involving midwifery services

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario - for complaints related to services provided by a physician

College of Nurses of Ontario - for complaints related to the services provided by a nurse

A complete list of regulatory bodies for health professionals can be found through the Health Profession Regulators of Ontario website.

Becoming a community surgical and diagnostic centre

Community Clinics can become funded and licenced centres through a Call for Applications process under the provisions of the ICHSCA.

Future Calls for Applications are publicly communicated through postings on the Resources for Community Surgical and Diagnostic Centres webpage.