A legislative proposal to repeal the Independent Health Facilities Act and the Oversight of Health Facilities and Devices Act and replace with new legislation, the Integrated Community Health Services Centres Act, 2023
Bill or Act:
Independent Health Facilities Act
Summary of Decision:
The Independent Health Facilities Act was repealed and replaced with the Integrated Community Health Services Centres Act, 2023.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
If the legislative proposal is approved, complementary regulatory proposals will be put forward and a policy framework will be developed to further advance implementation of community surgical modernization.
The proposed changes would impact centres licensed as ICHSCs. The proposal is expected to reduce direct compliance costs by removing unnecessary red tape for ICHSCs. There would be minimal compliance costs to ICHSCs to support the staff time required to learn about the proposed changes and some additional costs to support increased integration with the broader health system. There may also be additional costs associated with new quality assurance requirements put in place to support the expansion of community surgical services.
ICHSCs may need to apply for licence renewals less frequently based on types of services delivered and up-front investment required by the ICHSC Licensee.
Integration requirements that may result in some additional costs to ICHSCs include, for example, new requirements to report into the Wait Time Information System.
February 21, 2023
Summary of Proposal:
On February 21st, the government introduced Bill 60 ,Your Health Act, 2023, to build on the initiatives laid out in the Your Health: Plan for Connected and Convenient Care released on February 2nd. Through the Plan, the government is working to expand the delivery of OHIP-insured surgeries that can be safely performed outside of hospitals into community-based centres. Patients with valid OHIP coverage will be able to access these insured services at no charge. This expansion will position Ontario to better meet the surgical care needs of a growing, aging population.
To support this work, the Ministry of Health is proposing to repeal the Independent Health Facilities Act, 1990 and replace it with new legislation, the Integrated Community Health Services Centres Act, 2023 (ICHSCA). The proposed legislation builds on the current framework and intends to:
- Improve clarity by replacing the name and accompanying definition of an 'Independent Health Facility' with the name and definition of an 'Integrated Community Health Services Centre (ICHSC), which includes community surgical and diagnostic centres, to better reflect the purpose and role of these centres.
- Expand existing quality oversight frameworks through the implementation of a new ICHSC Quality Assurance program to support the expansion of surgical services in the community by:
Providing the ministry with the authority to prescribe an inspection body with inspection powers for all ICHSCs;
Enabling this inspecting body to take action with respect to quality standards/compliance issues;
Enabling the ICHSC Director to order a licensee to cease delivery of licensed services until in compliance with quality and safety standards; and
Providing that failure to comply with quality and safety standards is an offence under the Act.
- Improve health system integration and oversight as well as health system planning effectiveness by:
Enabling the appointment of more than one ICHSC Director to allow appropriate oversight of ICHSCs and to support integrated system planning; and
Taking into account the needs of diverse, vulnerable, priority and underserviced populations and linguistic needs.
- Reduce red tape and financial burdens and increase health system responsiveness to emerging priorities by:
Streamlining the call for applications process; and
Adding Director authority to evaluate health system need prior to issuing licences or approving transfers of licences.
- Protect patients by:
Prohibiting ICHSCs from requiring a patient to purchase a product, service or device in order to access an insured service at an ICHSC. Patients will continue to access OHIP-insured services with their health card, not their credit card;
Including ICHSCs under the mandate of the Patient Ombudsman; and
Requiring ICHSCs to establish and maintain a process for receiving and responding to patient complaints
- Protect Health Human Resources (HHR) by expanding access to publicly funded community-based health services in a way that considers the availability of HHR in the health system.
The ministry is also proposing to repeal the Oversight of Health Facilities and Devices Act, 2017 (OFHDA), which was intended to replace the IHFA.
Pending approval, the proposed legislation would come into force through a proclamation Order in Council.
Ministry of Health
777 Bay Street - 5th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M5G 2C8
Royal Assent Date:
September 25, 2023