Frequently Asked Questions - Community Surgical and Diagnostic Centres (Integrated Community Health Services Centres Act, 2023)
Community surgical and diagnostic centres (formerly known as Independent Health Facilities) have been operating as part of Ontario’s health care system for more than 30 years. These centres are licenced by and receive funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health to provide only certain OHIP-insured services and procedures, including ultrasound, X-ray, dialysis, cataract and other eye surgeries, OHIP-insured plastic surgeries, and minimally invasive gynecological surgeries. These centres are also required to have an internal complaints process to address patient concerns.
Starting September 25, 2023, Patient Ombudsman’s jurisdiction has expanded to include community surgical and diagnostic centres licensed under the Integrated Community Health Services Centres Act, 2023 (ICHSCA).
Community surgical and diagnostic centres may offer various services, including both funded and non-funded services. For example, some centers that provide OHIP-insured cataract surgeries can also offer services that are not covered by OHIP, such as laser eye surgery to correct astigmatism. Patient Ombudsman can help with complaints about services for which these centres are licensed under the ICHSCA.
As an office of last resort, Patient Ombudsman typically reviews complaints only after a patient, client or caregiver has gone through the centre’s own internal complaints process.
Patient Ombudsman’s online complaints form lists all health care organizations that we can receive complaints about. See the second tab called “HSO Details” to find lists of hospitals, long-term care homes, home care services, and community surgical and diagnostic centres.
The Ministry of Health also provides a list of all centres licensed under the ICHSCA.
If the centre you visited is on this list, Patient Ombudsman may be able to help resolve your concern after you have first tried to resolve your concern directly with the centre. If you are not sure who to contact or how to contact them, call us.
Your first step is to make a complaint with the centre itself. As an office of last resort, Patient Ombudsman reviews complaints after the organization involved has had a chance to respond to your concerns. Under the new legislation, these centres are required to have an internal complaint process to address patient and client concerns.
If you have gone through the centre’s complaint process and are not satisfied with the outcome or how the complaint was handled, you can contact Patient Ombudsman.
Complaints can be made using our online webform or by mail. Be sure to include the centre’s name, address, and the service you received.
Complaints can be made using our online webform or by mail. Be sure to include the centre’s name, address, and the type of service you received.
We will also require a consent form from either the patient who received the service or their substitute decision-maker.
Some community surgical and diagnostic centres provide services both through their ICHSCA license and outside of their license. For example, a centre might provide a number of services such as exercise stress tests, blood pressure monitoring and ultrasound but, under the Act, only the ultrasound would be a licensed service. Because Patient Ombudsman’s mandate is focused on clinics licensed under the Act, we may refer complaints about services funded generally through OHIP (and not through the ICHSCA license) to places like the Ontario Ministry of Health or health professions regulatory colleges. When making a complaint with Patient Ombudsman, be sure to let us know what kind of service you received; we can confirm if the service is one that falls within our jurisdiction.
You can also confirm which services are licensed under the ICHSCA on the Ministry of Health website.
The ICHSCA requires centres to post a list of uninsured services on their website and at the centre. The Ministry of Health also provides a list of all centres licensed under the ICHSCA and the services for which they are licensed.
Regulated health professionals such as doctors, nurses and medical imaging technologists belong to regulatory bodies called “colleges” that handle complaints against these health care providers. If your complaint is about the competence or professionalism of a regulated health care provider, the regulatory college that oversees the health care provider may be able to help resolve your concern.
Check here for a list of Ontario regulatory colleges.
If you’ve had a negative health care experience, we’ll work with you to help you understand Patient Ombudsman’s complaint process and how we might be able to assist you. Learn more about what happens when you make a complaint.