BCAO Mediation Protocol
The BCAO Mediation Committee has a mandate to assist in resolving complaints registered by patients with regards to monetary or quality of service/customer care issues against member optometrists. In essence, the committee is a liaison to help the parties reach a resolution.
How to Register a Complaint
Before any action can be initiated, the complaint must be made in writing, and signed. The letter of complaint must include the following:
- Complainant’s name, address, telephone number
- The name of the optometrist that the complaint is being made against
- Clear and concise details/summary of the nature of the complaint
- If at all possible, what resolution is expected
Complaints must be sent to:
British Columbia Association of Optometrists
610 - 2525 Willow Street
Vancouver, BC V5Z 3N8
All complaints are treated in a confidential manner.
The committee mediates the following types of complaints:
- Monetary concerns, i.e., patient is unhappy with his/her glasses or contact lenses and wants a refund.
- Quality of service/customer care issues, i.e., doctor or staff is rude, provides what is deemed as poor service.
The committee does not mediate the following types of complaints:
- Malpractice issues
- Criminal issues
- Substandard or poor quality of care issues
These are handled by the College of Optometrists of British Columbia. You can contact them at:
College of Optometrists of British Columbia
1204 – 700 West Pender Street
Vancouver, BC V6C 1G8
The following are the steps involved in the mediation process:
- BCAO office receives letter of complaint.
- BCAO office sends letter to complainant acknowledging receipt.*
- BCAO office sends letter of acknowledgement and letter of complaint to the Mediation Committee Chair.
- Mediation Chair reviews the complaint and either handles the case or passes it to on to a Mediation Committee member.
- Copies of the letters of complaint and acknowledgement, and the Mediation Protocol, are sent to the doctor being complained against.
- The mediator usually contacts the patient first to get a clear understanding of the complaint and how the patient would like to see the matter resolved. The doctor is then contacted and the patient's concerns and desired outcome is discussed.
- The doctor makes a decision on how to proceed. Usually the patient is contacted again and the doctor’s position/decision is discussed. Sometimes, the doctor may wish to communicate with the patient directly. This is often the point where the mediation process is terminated.
Once a resolution (whether satisfactory to both parties or not) is finalized, the mediator prepares a summary of the mediation case, and a resolution letter to be sent to the complainant.
Not all mediations end with agreement or a satisfactory resolution for both parties.
*If it is determined that the complaint falls under the College’s jurisdiction, the complainant is advised, and informed that his/her letter has been forwarded to the College by the BCAO office.