Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about the Data

Q:  Where are the population reports?

A:  PEOPLE summary population statistics have been removed from Healthideas since they duplicate reports provided by the BC Stats web site.

Q: Are "PHSA" and "tertiary hospital" the same thing?

A:  No.  PHSA consists of the following:
LHA Hospital Name
600 104 B.C.Women's Hospital
600 105 British Columbia Children"s Hospital
600 107 B.C. Cancer Agency
600 114 Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children
600 929 Riverview Hospital-Closed July 2012

By comparison, tertiary hospitals are the following:
            101, 102, 104, 105, 107, 119, 123, 929
unless the patient is from 03 Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.  Then the tertiary hospitals are 104, 105, 107, and 929.
Hospital 114 is the only PHSA hospital that is not considered tertiary.

Q: What is an "alternate level of care" or ALC?

A: The Canadian Institute for Health Information defines ALC as:
An alternate level of care (ALC) patient has finished the acute care phase of his/her treatment but remains in the acute care bed.

The following principles and decision rules have been reviewed and adopted by the health authorities:

  1. Only patients (not beds) of acute care hospitals can be designated as ALC
  2. Patients become ALC once they meet specific criteria and are assigned one of 27 ICD-10 diagnostic codes.  Common reasons include convalescing, palliative care, social reasons e.g. homelessness, and waiting admission to adequate facility elsewhere. These codes are then captured in the Discharge Abstract Database (DAD) and can be used by health authorities for evaluation of services;
  3. Clinicians decide, according to criteria of need for acute care services, when the need for acute care is no longer required;
  4. Beds or type of unit (e.g., sub-acute or transitional care) does not automatically make a patient ALC; and
  5. Patient in extended care wards are not ALC if patients have been discharged through the DAD.

Q:  The total cases showing in some reports may differ. Why is that?

A:  Most reports do not include “all cases” for a given fiscal year. There are four subsets of all cases in BC that can typically be included or excluded, depending on the nature of the report. Here is how HealthIdeas treats them:
  • Out of province cases (Hospital 997)
  • Non-BC residents (LHA 000)
  • LHA BC unknown (LHA 095)
  • Newborns

Out of Province Cases

These are BC residents treated in other provinces. CIHI provides these records to BC along with the regular BC file. For out of province records, the institution (or facility) identifier on records coming from other provinces is replaced by the code “997” which indicates that this is an “out of province” record. 


Non-residents are those clients from other provinces or countries that are treated in BC hospitals. The LHA assigned to them is LHA 000 ( “Non-BC”).

For the hospital workload reports, the default is to include only BC hospitals (exclude hospital 997) and include non-residents (LHA 000).  The user can change these default filters if they choose.

The hospital service catchment reports includes out of province cases and excludes LHA “Non-BC” in the provincial totals, but may include both in some reports. The utilization reports include out of province cases (hospital 997) and exclude non-residents (LHA “Non-BC”). In these reports, there is no option to change these default filters.

Unknown BC LHA 

These are BC patients whose LHA is unknown and are included in BC totals only. The LHA assigned to them is “095”.


These are identified by patient services 54 and are typically excluded from the defaults for all reports. The user must actively select them from the filters, if they wish them included. 

Q:  I just ran the "Hospital Services Utilization Rates" report and the Rural/Urban total to less than BC totals.  What is going on here?

A: Rural/Urban total to less than BC totals because BC totals include clients from unknown LHA, but the rural/urban does not.

Questions about the Summary Reports Interface

Q: If I click on parameters such as "Hospitals," none appear selected. Will I get no data in my report?

A: By default, all values of hospitals, medical categories, etc., are included unless you build a filter (or one is provided by default as with BC Care Levels.) Clicking check boxes builds a filter. Clicking on "Select All" builds a filter that runs slower, but usually has the same results as not building a filter.

Q: If I build a filter using the parameters, will that column appear on the report?

A: Selection criteria will be restated in the report to document what criteria you selected, but will not change the format of the report.

Q: When I choose to report by medical category “CIHI Comprehensive Ambulatory Classification system (CACS)” why does the report contain some “Unknown”?

A: By default, the BC Care Level is set to acute and rehabilitation cases, so day surgeries are excluded from reports. Most of the acute and rehabilitation cases do not have a CACS code applied to them and are instead given a CACS value of “Unknown”. CACS was meant to be an ambulatory coding system of which day surgery is a subset.  However, CIHI has provided CACS codes and CACS RIWs in addition to CMG+ codes and CMG+  RIWs for a small number of the acute cases to demonstrate what the weighting could have been had this case been handled in day surgery. For most purposes, when choosing medical category “CACS”, the user should select the BC care level “day surgery”. 

General Questions

Q:  My question is not listed here.  How can I get in touch with you?

A:  If you experience any problems running reports or accessing any of the files on this Web site, please contact the Ministry of Health Helpdesk by e-mail [] or by telephone at (250) 952-1234.  Quote the application name Healthideas.

We welcome your feedback on summary reports you would like to see added here and ways we can improve this web site. If you have any comments, concerns or suggestions on this site, please send us an e-mail at