On this page, important updates concerning Medical Services Commission policy, ACDF applications, and related documents can be found. Please check this page often for important updates that may affect your Advisory Committee on Diagnostic Facilities application or Assignment of Payment.
- Assignment of Payment (AOP)
- Advisory Committee on Diagnostic Facilities
- Polysomnography Temporary Moratorium
- Pulmonary Function (Spirometry) Policy
- Electrocardiography (ECG)
- Non-Cardiac Doppler Studies in Privately-Owned Facilities
- Pulmonary Function (Applications for Certificate of Approval for Privately-Owned Facilities)
- Distance-Reading (Diagnostic Ultrasound Telemetry) Policy
- Distance-Reading (Diagnostic Ultrasound Telemetry) Applications
- Relocation Policy
- Polysomnography Policy
- Electromyography Policy
- Temporary Moratorium on Applications for Diagnostic Outpatient Ultrasound Facilities
Effective September 17, 2018:
The Ministry of Health has updated its Assignment of Payment (AOP) Form for Diagnostic Facility outpatient services. The new AOP form replaces the previous AOP form for practitioners who wish to assign MSP payment for their services to a facility, whether privately- or publicly-owned. As with the previous AOP form, Medical Director Authorization is not required for a renewal of an existing AOP (same practitioner, facility and service(s) assigned). Medical Director Authorization continues to be required when an AOP form is for a Locum, New Full-Time Staff Member, New Part-Time Staff Member, or for a New Service.
This update does not change the form content and is expected to reduce the error rate in processing AOPs by placing ‘MODALITY’(Part B) and ‘PRACTITIONER AND PAYEE AUTHORIZATION’ (currently Part E, will become Part D) on the same page. This will provide practitioners the convenience of reviewing service categories directly on the signature page. As part of this change, ‘MEDICAL DIRECTOR / DELEGATED SIGNING AUTHORITY’ is now found on the second page of the new AOP Form under Part E.
The new AOP form can be used immediately.
As of Thursday, November 1, 2018, the previous AOP form will no longer be accepted for processing.
Commencing May 1, 2018 responsibility for the complete Assignment of Payment (AOP) process for approved outpatient diagnostic facilities will move to Health Insurance BC (HIBC).
Key points concerning the May 1, 2018 transition
- AOP forms will continue to be submitted through the secure upload tool found on the Ministry of Health’s Diagnostic Services web pages. There is no change in how AOP forms are submitted. See URL listing below.
- The 90 day window for submitting claims following services has not changed.
- The suggested 30 day allowance for having an AOP form process has not changed. By getting forms in early the chance of having billings reject is greatly reduced!
- As of May 1, 2018 both the AOP form and related confirmation of practitioner credentialing (when required) MUST be uploaded/submitted at the same time. HIBC cannot process AOP forms that do not have all required information submitted with them and will contact the submitter to have them re-send the AOP and credentialing confirmation together.
Submitting AOP forms after May 1, 2018
- Continue to use AOP secure upload tool. There is NO CHANGE in how AOP forms are submitted. www.gov.bc.ca/assignmentofpaymentupload
For further detail on Assignment of Payment, please see: www.gov.bc.ca/assignmentofpayment
Temporary Moratorium on Applications for Diagnostic Outpatient Polysomnography Facilities (Updated February 26, 2020)
On February 26, 2020, the Medical Services Commission of British Columbia extended the temporary moratorium on applications for new, expanded or relocated outpatient Polysomnography facilities across the province.
Originally scheduled to end March 31, 2020, the moratorium on applications for outpatient polysomnography facilities has now been extended to September 30, 2020.
The extended moratorium applies to applications from both health authority and privately-owned facilities.
Applications for addition of services to an existing polysomnography Certificate of Approval will continue to be accepted.
This moratorium is intended to support the Advisory Committee on Diagnostic Facilities and its supporting staff while they undertake a detailed review of the current environment for delivery of Sleep Medicine in British Columbia, including current policy governing approval of Polysomnography facilities.
Follow the link below for the full text of the Commission’s announcement concerning its moratorium on applications for diagnostic polysomnography facilities.
On December 5, 2018, the Medical Services Commission approved a set of Ministry of Health recommendations concerning provision of outpatient spirometry services in privately-owned facilities/practitioners’ offices. This approval:
- Allows appropriately credentialed, private-office practitioners to bill the Medical Services Plan for provision of the Flow Volume Loop (FVL) aspect of spirometry.
- Removes the requirement for a specialist consultation prior to spirometry testing.
- Allows for approval upon application from appropriately credentialed* physicians practicing in an accredited facility.
These changes are intended to increase access to full spirometry testing (data and graphic interpretation) in community settings, with the goal of improving early detection of respiratory diseases, including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
*Physicians may use the following summary to help identify eligibility, however the BC Medical Quality Initiative (BCQMI) Privileging Dictionaries are the key reference documents and may be found at: http://bcmqi.ca/credentialing-privileging/dictionaries/view-dictionaries
For simple, numeric spirometry, the physician must meet one of the following:
- Be registrant in the specialty class of respirology, pediatric respirology, occupational medicine, or clinical immunology and allergy; or
- Be registrant of the specialty class of internal medicine, pediatrics, critical care medicine, or general/family practice class, AND has completed appropriate training reflective of the scope of the privileges requested to the satisfaction of the medical director and the DAP committee; or
- Has been approved for Spirometry by the Diagnostic Accreditation Program prior to January 1, 2011.
Flow Volume Loop
For FVL studies, the physician must meet one of the following:
- Be registrant in the specialty class of respirology, pediatric respirology, occupational medicine, or clinical immunology and allergy; or
- Be registrant of the specialty class of general internal medicine, pediatrics, critical care medicine, AND completed appropriate training reflective of the scope of the practice requested to the satisfaction of the medical director and the DAP committee.
Other Pulmonary Function Testing
For all other pulmonary function testing, the physician must meet credentialing requirements outlined above for FVL, however all other testing may ONLY be provided in health authority facilities (hospitals).
In addition to the requirements outlined above, the physician must have maintained an adequate volume of current clinical experience reflective of the scope of the practice requested and demonstrate current experience based on results of ongoing professional practice evaluation outcomes including peer review and/or the Diagnostic Accreditation Program’s Quality Control program.
On January 17, 2018 the Medical Services Commission approved the deregulation of referred ECG services, effective February 14, 2018.
This decision means that facilities are no longer required to seek approval from the Advisory Committee on Diagnostic Facilities/Medical Services Commission in order for physicians to bill the Medical Services Plan (MSP) for provision of referred ECG services (fee code 93120).
Note: Approval has never been required for those physicians performing ECG services in their own offices, on their own patients. Referred ECG services should now be billed in the same manner as would be done if providing services to the physician’s own patient, or billing MSP for any other service not requiring formal facility approval.
Because facilities will no longer require ACDF/MSC approval to undertake referred ECG services, no Facility number will be required for billing purposes.
For any practitioner with a current ECG assignment of payment in place, there is nothing to do – the assignment of payment will continue until the date of its expiry.
Following February 14, practitioners may still choose to assign payment for referred ECG services to a hospital, clinic or group practice. Normally the clinic or group would utilize a single payment number. The term of the assignment may be for any period up to five (5) years. If the term is to be extended, a new assignment form must be completed and submitted prior to the expiry of the current term.
In order to assign payment to a hospital, clinic or group practice, a non-diagnostic Assignment of Payment application form must be completed. The appropriate form can be found on the Ministry of Health website at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/health/forms/2870fil.pdf.
Note: the Assignment of Payment application form for hospital, clinic, or group practice should not be sent through the Ministry of Health’s web-based secure upload tool (as is the case with the Diagnostic Facility Services’ Assignment of Payment and Medical Director Authorization form). Please follow the instructions for submission contained on the form for the hospital, clinic, or group practice Assignment of Payment application form.
If you have any questions or require further information, please contact the Diagnostic Services team at
DFadmin@gov.bc.ca , or call Health Insurance BC (toll free) at 1-866-456-6950.
On October 25, 2017, the Medical Services Commission approved the following revision to Policy 2.4.3 Assessment Criteria: Service Specific Criteria (Doppler Studies in a privately-owned facility).
Doppler Studies in a privately-owned facility
- Only non-cardiac Doppler studies may be approved in a privately-owned facility,
- the diagnostic facility holds both Category IV radiology and Category IV ultrasound Certificates of Approval, and
- the diagnostic facility holds a mutually satisfactory clinical placement agreement with a Ministry of Advanced Education recognized (ultrasound) Diagnostic Medical Sonography training institution in British Columbia.
- Until otherwise indicated, applications will not be accepted for non-cardiac Doppler studies in a privately-owned facility. Instead, the Medical Services Commission will determine which facilities are approved to perform and bill the Medical Services Plans for non-cardiac Doppler studies.
(For complete Outpatient Ultrasound policy, which includes the non-cardiac Doppler Studies policy, see page 22 of the Policies and Guidelines of the Medical Services Commission’s Advisory Committee on Diagnostic Facilities [PDF, 598KB])
Pulmonary Function (Applications for Certificate of Approval for Privately-Owned Facilities) (Updated August 23, 2017)
For privately-owned facilities, at this time, the Advisory Committee on Diagnostic Facilities will only accept Pulmonary Function applications from individual practitioners performing services on their own patients. Therefore, for privately-owned facilities a Certificate of Approval will only be considered for those applications with a one-to-one relationship of practitioner and facility.
On December 7, 2016, the Medical Services Commission approved the following revision to Policy 2.4.3 Assessment Criteria: Service Specific Criteria (Distance-Reading Telemetry).
Medical Services Commission (MSC) Payment Schedule Definition: The electronic transmission of diagnostic ultrasound images from one site to another for interpretation.
- Both public and privately-owned facilities may apply for Distance-Reading (Diagnostic Ultrasound Telemetry) for ultrasound services they are approved to perform.
- Both sending (transmitting) and receiving sites must hold an ultrasound Certificate of Approval from the Committee or the Commission.
- Applications will be assessed based on patient access needs and the general and specific criteria in the Policies and Guidelines of the Medical Services Commission’s Advisory Committee on Diagnostic Facilities.
- An application must be submitted and approval received prior to any change in a facility’s Distance Reading approval, including the type of ultrasound services transmitted or any change in receiving sites. Applications must include the addresses of all current and proposed sites.
- When assessing patient access needs, the Committee may consider various factors, including but not limited to: facility location; community size; population density; and distance and driving time to the nearest approved ultrasound facility that offers on-site radiologists for ultrasound interpretation.
- When assessing applications, the Committee may consider the number of appropriately credentialed radiologists in the community and the distance between transmitting and receiving sites.
- Facilities seeking to apply for both an ultrasound service and Distance Reading for that service must complete separate applications for the service and Distance Reading approval. Both applications may be assessed at the same Committee meeting.
On December 7, 2016, the Medical Services Commission approved Policy 2.4.3 Assessment Criteria: Service Specific Criteria (Distance-Reading Telemetry).
To add distance-reading to an existing ultrasound facility Certificate of Approval, or to add a service or receiving site to an existing ultrasound Certificate of Approval, applicants must now complete application Form D – Add or Change of Distance-Reading (Diagnostic Ultrasound Telemetry) Certificate of Approval.
To download, and submit an application, see http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/practitioner-professional-resources/laboratory-services-diagnostic-services/diagnostic-services/advisory-committee-on-diagnostic-facilities-acdf-application-forms/acdf-application-forms
On April 5, 2017, the Medical Services Commission approved the following addition to Policy 2.1 Activity Requiring Approval.
Policy 2.1 Activity Requiring Approval
The Committee will review applications made to the Commission for approval of:
b. the relocation of an existing diagnostic facility when such relocation is within the same geographic catchment area,
On April 5, 2017, the Medical Services Commission approved the addition of Policy 3.6 Relocation.
The purpose of this policy is “to articulate the required criteria for how the Committee and Commission assess applications for relocation of diagnostic facilities to ensure that beneficiaries are able to maintain reasonable access to diagnostic services in a given geographic catchment area.”
For full details on this new policy See pages 43-44 of the Policies and Guidelines of the Medical Services Commission’s Advisory Committee on Diagnostic Facilities [PDF, 598KB]
On April 5, 2017, the Medical Services Commission approved the following addition to Policy 2.4.2 Assessment Criteria: Accessibility (Polysomnography).
“The Committee will determine the catchment area that applies for applications for polysomnography using the area within the geographic boundaries of the Health Service Delivery Areas, as defined by the Ministry of Health and BC Stats, of the health authority where the diagnostic facility that is the subject of the application is located.”
Health Service Delivery Areas are found at: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/data/geographic-data-services/land-use/administrative-boundaries/health-boundaries
Polysomnography Policy (Updated June 13, 2017)
On April 5, 2017, the Medical Services Commission approved the following addition to Policy 2.4.3 Assessment Criteria: Service Specific Criteria (Polysomnography).
“Facilities applying for a Polysomnography Certificate of Approval must provide for a minimum capacity of three (3) beds appropriate for the purpose of overnight sleep testing. “
On May 17, 2017, the Medical Services Commission approved the following addition to Policy 2.4.3 Assessment Criteria: Service Specific Criteria (Electromyography).
- If an individual is seeking a privately-owned Certificate of Approval to be operated within a publicly-owned diagnostic facility, the application must include an appropriate letter of support from the representative, or authorized delegate, of the owner of the publicly-owned diagnostic facility, and
- the service is to be provided to a beneficiary on an outpatient basis.
To apply for electromyography, complete the Advisory Committee on Diagnostic Facilities diagnostic outpatient electromyography application letter of support template.
Temporary Moratorium on Applications for Diagnostic Outpatient Ultrasound Facilities (Updated May 31, 2017)
On May 17, 2017 the Medical Services Commission of British Columbia extended its temporary moratorium on applications for new, relocation or expansion of diagnostic outpatient ultrasound facilities, with the exception of those fee items currently restricted to public hospitals, i.e. Echocardiography and Doppler Studies.
Applications for addition of services to an existing ultrasound Certificate of Approval will continue to be accepted.
Follow the link below for the full text of the Commission’s announcement concerning its moratorium on applications for diagnostic outpatient ultrasound facilities.
Exceptions to the moratorium may be made for demonstrated urgent health or safety needs. However, the Commission will only accept a moratorium request for exception from facilities holding a current ultrasound Certificate of Approval from the Medical Services Commission, or the Advisory Committee on Diagnostic Facilities.
Exceptions Process - Moratorium on Applications for Diagnostic Outpatient Ultrasound Facilities
Qualifying facilities who seek an exception to the moratorium based on demonstrated urgent health or safety needs must complete and submit a request for moratorium exception consideration (PDF, 350KB).