Millions at private clinics during the pandemic

Millions to private clinics during pandemic


The pandemic has paid off for Chirurgie DIX30, which was awarded at least $51 million in contracts in 2020, following the load shedding in hospitals. Quebec wishes to maintain this shift towards private operations in the coming years. 

The Brossard-based company seems to have won the lion's share of contracts awarded by the government to increase its capacity at a time when hospitals were dealing with COVID-19. 

Another private clinic well-known company, RocklandMD, benefited from a contract worth more than $8 million to enable the Integrated University Health and Social Services Center (CIUSSS) of the East-of-the-island of Montreal to “reduce wait times for day surgeries or surgical specialties” at the start of the pandemic.

The Opmédic group, in Laval, has also signed a contract for nearly $5 million to relieve the Integrated Health and Social Services Center (CISSS) of Laval. 

Some of the agreements include options over more than a year.

This is an explosion in the use of the private sector: the health network had only three partner clinics before the pandemic, compared to about twenty today. In 2017, Le Journal reported that operations from the public network to the private sector had cost $9.2 million. 

Little transparency< /p>

This is a partial portrait of the amounts granted to specialized medical centers. 

“After several checks, we do not have the amounts of these contracts at the MSSS”, indicates the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS) in response to our Parliamentary Office. 

A request aux CISSS et CIUSSS generated a variety of responses, some providing only the amount spent, while others directed our request to an access to information request, where delays can reach 30 days. 

The compilation made by Le Journal
comes from the Electronic Tendering System, in which some contracts concluded in 2020 have just been published. Others could be missing. 

A more efficient system

Chirurgie DIX30's general manager emphasizes that he only offers procedures paid for by the public. 

“We are the equivalent of a radiology clinic or a FMG [family medicine group],” argues Normand Laberge. 

< p>He praises the efficiency of the private model. 

“Here, the doctors tell us: 'I do two more surgeries a day than I do in the hospital,'” he confides. -il. 

This is explained by the fact that the teams devote themselves solely to operations, according to him, while hospitals sometimes have to interrupt their activities to take care of a road accident, for example. 

Some contracts 

Surgery Dix30  

  • 12 M$ CISSS de la Montérégie-Est 
  • $6.2M CISSS de la Montérégie-Ouest 
  • $10.8M CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l 'Île-de-Montréal 
  • 22.5 M$ CISSS de la Montérégie-Centre    


  • $8.1M CIUSSS de l'Est-de-l'Île-de-Montréal  

Source: Electronic tendering system

The State reimburses certain patients operated on privately 

Citizens have found a way to have surgery done more quickly in the private sector, while being reimbursed part of it of their costs by Quebec. 

In a decision dated March, the Administrative Labor Tribunal (TAT) forced the Commission for Standards, Equity, Health and Safety at Work (CNESST) to reimburse part of the $14,660 disbursed by a employed to obtain private surgery.  

Before the Tribunal, the young woman explained that “she chose this choice because of the long waiting times for the same procedure in the public sector. She wanted to be able to recover and return to her job as quickly as possible.”

The worker, having slipped on a patch of ice while on the job, needed “left shoulder repair surgery”. 

Status of doctor 

The CNESST initially refused to reimburse her for her private surgery, arguing that the surgeon had the status of a physician participating in the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec. 

The TAT ruled, however, that “the status of the surgeon at the time of operating the worker has no impact here on her right to reimbursement of part of the costs”. 

Then, the Court cited several other decisions which demonstrate that the case law is clear: an employee can be reimbursed by the CNESST for private surgery, up to the amount provided for in the public network. He must pay the difference himself, if necessary. 

Go ahead of the others 

A lawyer in labor law work, who wishes to remain anonymous, explains that these reimbursements from the CNESST for private surgeries are quite common. 

One of the arguments put forward by the plaintiffs is the possibility of saving costs on work stoppage benefits by returning to their jobs more quickly.  

Some might see this as an unfair situation, believing that workers get a pass while others wait in public, but the lawyer believes that we must avoid amalgamating the two files. 

“We have a healthy plan and safety at work which is very well done for the workers, she pleads. Afterwards, the delays that can be found in surgeries, I believe that we should not mix the two, it is another debate which concerns access to care. »

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