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At work with a former senior government employee: disturbing connections with the Ministry of Health

At work with a former senior government employee: disturbing connections with the Ministry of Health

A health ministry executive succeeded in setting up a company with a lobbyist targeting his department, while he was getting his full salary from public service.

Our Bureau of Investigation discovered that on January 19, Stefan Broussard, the department’s director of information technology, became president and shareholder of Plakett Digital Health.

He did not officially leave the ministry until February 11.

In his new career adventure, the former senior employee is related to Isabel Girard, President of Plakett Clinical Services.

Not known to the general public, this company specializes in consulting services for medical and primary care clinics.

Plakett has doubled its ties with the Department of Health for several years (look over there). Ms. Gerrard is a lobbyist and got two contracts by mutual agreement.

In addition to Stéphane Broussard, the company employed the former minister’s senior political advisor and assigned advisory functions to a former deputy minister.

Ministry did not inform

The Ministry of Health confirms that Stéphane Broussard told it on January 16 that he intended to leave his post to start work.

However, he notes that he was not informed at the time of Plakett’s creation of digital health and Isabelle Girard’s role in that company.

“At that time, MSSS [ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux] I asked Mr. Broussard not to start his business activities before leaving the Department of Social Security,” said department spokeswoman, Marjorie LaRouche.

Regulations do not prevent a former manager from doing business, but he must respect established ethics and post-employment rules.

“We have no information that would allow us to believe that Mr. Broussard did not respect these rules,” the ministry specifies.

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no interview

When the Bureau of Investigation telephoned Stéphane Brossard, he refused to answer our questions and promised to call us back. Instead, it was a PR firm providing explanations via email.

Maxime Couture of Catapult communication pointed out.

For Professor Marie-Soleil Tremblay of the National School of Public Administration (ENAP), the situation is questionable.

“We are in a gray situation, there is a risk to our reputation,” she said.

The public administration specialist recommends a period of one year between the departure of a senior official from the ministry and hiring with a private resource.

“There is a certain distance that must be maintained between the public agency and the suppliers,” she said.

With Pascal Dugas Bourdon and Nicolas Lachance, Bureau of Investigation

The former deputy minister defends himself

A former deputy assistant minister later secured advisory mandates, with Blackett denying any favoritism.

Luke Bouchard.  Former Deputy Minister

Picture taken from Facebook

Luke Bouchard. Former Deputy Minister

Luc Bouchard left the ministry in May 2021. It was he who signed the two contracts without competition for Blackett in 2020.

Then, in the fall of 2021, he earned two paid periods from Blackett.

Our FBI first contacted him, and he initially denied that he worked for the company.

A few days later, he admitted that he represented Plackett outside Quebec.

It confirms two delegations that did not exceed a few hours for the company.

In an interview, Mr. Bouchard acknowledged that, as Deputy Minister, he had been in contact with Blackett and her boss, Isabelle Girard.

“Plakett is the company that works the most with FMGs [groupes de médecine de famille] Medical clinics, etc […] “It’s Quebec’s authority on that,” he argues.

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Over-the-counter contracts

One of the contracts awarded without competition to Plakett was to analyze various techniques for scheduling doctor appointments.

According to documents obtained under Access to Information, Isabel Girard submitted her analysis to the Deputy Minister in November 2019.

For this same contract, it also had a mandate to study the computing needs of specialists in private practice.

Luc Bouchard now works at the Institute for the Importance of Medical Procedures (IPAM). He admits to continuing to meet with Plackett’s staff on occasion.

“We meet with suppliers [notamment ceux référés par Plakett]. We listen to what they say, That’s it. Next, we refer them to the Department of Health or FMSQ.

IPAM was created as part of an agreement between the Union of Medical Professionals of Quebec and the Council of the Treasury, when Christian Dube was in charge. The institute aims to identify sources of annual savings in physician bonuses.

  • Luc Bouchard gave a presentation on IPAM on May 13, during the Première ligne en santé symposium organized by Plakett.

4 examples of proximity

Recruitment of a Dubai consultant

Isabelle Girard and Stephane Broussard

Photo courtesy of Plakett Clinical Services

Last January, Plackett enlisted Patrick Emmanuel father, chief political adviser to Minister Christian Dube, who had announced his departure from the government a month ago. He says he learned after joining Plakett that the company was playing a strategic advisory role with the people involved in putting up a doctor’s appointment scheduling coordinator. This coordinator is essential to the patient access window, and is one of the mainstays of the health reform plan Christian Dube introduced in March.

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The minister gives a speech

Christian Dube at a seminar organized by Blackett last May.

Image from Facebook placket

Christian Dube at a seminar organized by Blackett last May.

Minister Christian Dob He gave the keynote speech at the last Première ligne en santé symposium, organized by Plakett, on 13 May. Isabel Girard also maintains links with the assistant health minister, Lionel Carmant. Last December, the two ministers were also reunited during an event for UP Pediatrics in Broussard in the company of President Plakett.

Active pressure activator

Isabel Girard has been lobbying the Ministry of Health since 2017. In particular, she has represented UP’s Children’s Emergency Center, Radiologix Group and Carpe Diem Medical Clinic. His company also offered pressure support services. She is currently registered with the lobbyist registry on behalf of the computer company Logibec.

Two decades without competition

Blackt was awarded two over-the-counter contracts from the Ministry of Health in 2020. The first contract was awarded to provide an analysis of various techniques for scheduling appointments with an online doctor. The company also secured a contract to publish the “coordinator” to schedule appointments in medical clinics. In both cases, the contract was issued with reservations from the Departmental Contract Management Branch. However, comments regarding these reservations have been revised in response to a request for access to information submitted to our Bureau of Investigation.

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