Q: Why is the Vision Institute of Canada closing?
A: Like other non-profit charities, the Vision Institute of Canada (VIC) has always operated with challenging financial stresses. Over our forty years we have kept our doors open to our exceptional patients through fund-raising initiatives. Events of the past few years have dealt us an insurmountable funding shortfall. Having explored all options, our Board of Directors reluctantly made the painful decision to close. We at VIC are all grieving.
Q: What will happen to the Vision Institute practice and clinic?
A: We are pleased to report that our colleagues at Finch Avenue Optometry have graciously agreed to serve our valued patients who need a new eye care home. Dr. George Papadakis, Dr. Sarah Stevens, and Dr. Nisara Bandali have been friends of VIC for many years. We know this practice to be strong, skilled in many special areas of eye care, accessible, ethical, and willing to serve you. We at VIC feel that the Finch Avenue Optometry team is part of our family. We are comfortable in recommending this practice for your continuing care.
Your record has been transferred there automatically and confidentially, where it will remain available to you. Should you wish to seek care elsewhere, a copy of your record can be sent to another practitioner for an administrative fee, with your signed consent.
Q: What does it mean that my file is now at another clinic?
A: When any health care practice closes, the patient records must be transferred into the care of another regulated health care provider, where they are kept securely for at least ten years. They will be kept in accordance with all privacy safeguards. We are fortunate that our friends at Finch Avenue Optometry (FAO) have agreed to become the new custodian of your file.
Q: Does this mean I must consider Finch Avenue Optometry as my new eye care provider?
A: Not necessarily. However, we suggest you consider this option. We know and trust the team at FAO, and that is why we reached out to them to help us serve our patients going forward.
Q: I have an appointment scheduled at the Vision Institute. Will this take place?
A: No, unfortunately. Our clinic is now permanently closed, and we will not be able to honour your appointment as we had planned. We are very sorry.
We have tried hard to contact all our active patients by email, regular mail, or by phone but sometimes our contact information for you is out of date.
Q: Can Finch Avenue Optometry provide me with an appointment to replace the appointment I had at the Vision Institute?
A: Not an exactly duplicate appointment, no. But if you choose to join the FAO practice, they will work with you to arrange a new appointment to be as convenient as possible, based on your need.
Q: Will FAO reach out to me to invite me to the practice?
A: No. They are helping us a great deal, but they will count on you to reach out to them.
Q: Can Finch Avenue Optometry accommodate my type of eye problem, and my special circumstances?
A: FAO has a highly skilled team. They are happy to take on almost any type of patient situation. In any case, they have your record and can review your history to make sure they are equipped to manage your case. Their clinic is wheelchair accessible.
Q: How should I contact FAO?
A: The staff at FAO are working very hard to serve their existing patients as usual along with the extra volume of calls from Vision Institute patients.
For now, please contact FAO by email: [email protected]
Q: Finch Avenue Optometry is not very convenient for me. I’m thinking of consulting another clinic. How does that work?
A: That’s fine. Maybe you have heard of another eye doctor you’d like to consult, whose office is more convenient for you. You could simply call that office to book a visit around the time you are due for your next eye examination.
Q: How do I start looking for a new provider in my neighbourhood?
A: Here is a suggestion:
This site lists all the optometrists in Ontario. Click on ‘Find an Optometrist’. You can filter your search by postal code, and by accessibility. For example, you can look for a clinic near you to accommodate your wheelchair.
Q: How does my new optometrist obtain my record?
A: If your new optometrist wishes to have your record, they can request a copy from Finch Avenue Optometry with your signed consent. Keep in mind that often this is not needed. Your new optometrist can assess that need.
Q: I’d like a copy of my record for myself. How does that work?
A: You own the health information in your record and are entitled to a copy of that information. This could be in the form of a paper photocopy, or a scanned digital copy if you prefer. Copying your file can be quite time-consuming. FAO will provide this service but may need to schedule designated extra staff time to handle all requests. Please be patient.
Q: Is there a fee for a copy of my file?
A: Yes. To be clear, this is not a fee for the information, but for the clerical time needed to produce a copy for you or for your new optometrist. This fee is in accordance with Ontario regulations. This process can be labour intensive. Your paper record must be disassembled, scanned and/or photocopied and sent to you or your new optometrist, sometimes in a large, mailed package. For complex files this can involve literally hours of staff resources and expense. FAO wishes to make this fee reasonable for you.
Keep in mind that having a file copy is optional. Your record may not ever be needed by you or a new practitioner at all.
Q: Can I just pick up my original paper file from FAO?
A: No, the original paper record must be kept by the custodian (FAO) for ten years. This is because all the parties involved with your care must be able to refer to the original record if necessary. For example, sometimes health care regulators need to see a record for quality assurance monitoring.
Q: Can I still reach the Vision Institute of Canada if I have additional questions?
A: We will be available for a short time by email ([email protected]) but this will be limited once closing formalities are completed.