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PLMS is responsible for the administration of laboratory facility approvals on behalf the Ministry of Health.

BC laboratory services are administered under the Laboratory Services Act (LSA) and its regulations. Under the LSA, the Minister of Health has the authority to approve facilities and specimen collection stations to provide laboratory services, adhering to the principle of facilitating reasonable access to medically necessary laboratory services for registered beneficiaries throughout BC.

The Ministry of Health issues the Laboratory Services Outpatient Payment Schedule under the LSA for reimbursement to operators of approved laboratory facilities.

PLMS is responsible for processing requests for approving laboratory facilities, specimen collection stations and related services. Please direct inquiries to

‎The province-wide moratorium on applications for laboratory facilities and specimen collection stations operating under approvals continued under the Laboratory Services Act.

Operators and potential operators may apply for consideration of an exemption to the moratorium when seeking approval to:

  • open a new outpatient laboratory facility or specimen collection facility; or
  • increase the capacity or services of, or to relocate, an existing approved facility

In order to be considered for a moratorium exemption, operators and potential operators must meet one or more of the following:

  • Urgent health need
  • Safety need
  • Significant urgent business need

In addition, applicants must:

  • demonstrate how the request meets the exemption criteria;
  • provide complete applicant, facility, and service information; and
  • include additional relevant information to support the request.

Moratorium exemption process

The Moratorium Exemption Request and Facility Approval Application are combined into a single application and process. When we receive an application, the PLMS Facilities Program reviews the submission, seeks additional information as needed, and assesses whether the request meets the moratorium exemption criteria.

The moratorium exemption request incorporates the following elements:

  • Applicant name and contact information
  • Organization and facility location and contact information
  • Details of the request
  • The services that are being applied for
  • The type of application being sought
  • How the exemption criteria applies
  • Supporting information or documents

Staff will evaluate the catchment area for like facilities and specimen collection stations to identify if there is a need, or if there is already a facility in the area that is not at capacity.

Please see "New facility" or "Existing facilities" below for more information and applicable forms.

The operator payment administration (OPA) process applies to facilities that are approved to provide fee-for-service outpatient laboratory testing. It facilitates the payment of the fee-for-service claims.

The Laboratory Services Act establishes a relationship between the Minister of Health and operators of approved laboratory facilities. (Operators are defined as the owner, the person with responsibility for daily operations of the lab facility, or a regional health board or prescribed agency.) Every claim submitted through Teleplan to Health Insurance BC (HIBC) must be associated with a valid Medical Services Plan (MSP) practitioner number.

For billing purposes only, under the OPA process, each facility designates one or more laboratory physicians to link his/her MSP practitioner number to the facility using the OPA form.

Both the operator (or authorized representative of the operator) and the designated laboratory physician mus complete the form. OPAs are in effect for up to four years, after which a renewal is required.

The OPA User Guide provides an overview of the laboratory operator payment administration process and tips for completing an OPA form.

Supporting documents

Please submit forms via the secure upload tool.

All new facility requests must undergo both moratorium exemption/approval and accreditation processes. You must complete and submit an application and conflict of interest declaration (see "Supporting documents" below) to initiate the process.

The Outpatient Laboratory Facilities Manual (PDF) provides direction to the public and to private facility and specimen collection stations owners and operators.


The College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC must accredit all laboratory facilities through the Diagnostic Accreditation Program (DAP). Upon receiving confirmation of DAP approval, the Minister of Health will issue an official approval certificate to the facility.

Facility approval categories

As part of the laboratory facility approval process, the Minister of Health assigns one or more category levels to each approved laboratory facility, reflecting the laboratory services the facility is authorized to provide.

Operators may only submit reimbursement claims for fee items included in the category for which that facility is approved. If the capability or capacity of an approved laboratory facility changes, the Minister of Health may assign a new category.

Supporting documents

Please submit forms via the secure upload tool.

Moratorium exemption request/application

Operators must complete and submit the "Application Form - Moratorium Exemption Request - Existing Facility" and "Facility Approval Conflict of Interest" when there is:

  • an addition to laboratory services outside of the facility's approval categories
  • an addition of a bed and/or phlebotomy chair
  • a relocation

Notification of change

Operators must complete and submit the "Application Form - Request to Amend a Facility Approval" and "Facility Approval Conflict of Interest" (where applicable) when there is:

  • a change in medical directorship and/or laboratory physician staff (facility or regional)
  • a change in operator contact information
  • a change in hours and/or days of operation
  • a removal of a bed and/or phlebotomy chair
  • a withdrawal of operational services (categories or tests)
  • a permanent closure of a laboratory or specimen collection facility
  • an addition or cancellation of a payment number
  • a change in specimen collection station's receiving and testing laboratory
  • a change in shareholder and/or ownership percentages (< 10% shares)
  • a change to limits or conditions
  • an extension or renewal of a time-limited approval

Supporting documents

Please submit forms via the secure upload tool.

‎Facilities experiencing a temporary interruption to regular operations, planned or unplanned, are required, under the terms of the Laboratory Services Act and its regulations, to report the disruption to PLMS.

Foreseeable or planned disruptions must be reported thirty (30) days prior to the start of the disruption or a soon as they become known. Unforeseeable disruptions must be reported no later than two (2) business days after the disruption occurred or began.

Operators must work to resolve service interruptions as quickly as possible. However, depending on the severity of the disruption, PLMS may initially give operators a period of up to 90 days to resolve the issue. If the disruption continues after those 90 days, we may grant an extension. During the extension period, laboratory operators must work with PLMS to develop a strategy to resolve the issue and ensure continuity of services.

You can report disruptions using the Notification form (see "Supporting documents" below). This form reports the extent and anticipated duration of the disruption, actions taken to resolve the disruption, and mitigation plans to ensure access to alternate services and minimize impacts to patient care. PLMS may request additional information to assess the level of impact to patient access and quality of services.

Laboratory operators must provide reasonable communication to patients and practitioners about the anticipated duration of the disruption and alternative services to ensure community awareness and continuity of services.

You must complete a review of the disruption, including steps taken to resolve it and prevent reoccurrence, and send it to PLMS within 30 days of the resolution.

Supporting documents

Please submit forms via the secure upload tool.

SOURCE: Facilities ( )
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