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See a medical professional in Quebec: 10 private days, 381 days in public

See a medical professional in Quebec: 10 private days, 381 days in public

At the Sherbrooke University Hospital Center (CHUS) Fleurimont Hospital, I had a year of waiting for breathing tests […] I wanted answers right awayMrs. Tardiff exclaims.

During our visit to Laval Clinic a few days ago, Specialist Jad Hobeika sent him some good news.

We eliminated a lot of cases in your case: No asthma, no COPD, no anemia, you’re not in good shape.Explain to her.

Mrs. Tardiff drove over seven hours and paid a few hundred dollars for two of her appointments. She does not regret her choice. I attach more importance to my health than beforetrust Mrs. Tardiff.

Patient Sophie Tardif meets with a pulmonologist from Lacroix Medical Group.

Photo: Radio Canada

Record 784,000 pending requests

Getting an appointment with a doctor who specializes in the public network requires unprecedented patience in recent years.

According to the latest data from the Department of Health and Social Services (MSSS), there were 784,000 pending applications for all specialties in August, a 60% increase since September 2020.

The average time to get a date gone is 267 to 381 days.

In respiratory medicine alone, there were more than 27,000 pending applications in Quebec with an average delay of 322 days (46 weeks).

A situation that contradicts what Laval Clinic says it is experiencing.

Currently, I have a 1-2 week deadline for my first appointmentsays pulmonologist Jad Hobeika.

Graduated in Internal Medicine and Pulmonology since 2016, he joined Lacroix Medical Group in January 2022 after spending a few years in the public sector, where he was Head of Pulmonology at CISSS in Greater Montreal.

For the public we’ve seen patients with cancer and emergencies in a few weeks. Otherwise, for others, we’d be talking about months or years of waiting […] I wasn’t comfortable with the number of patients on the waiting listhe explains.

According to Dr. Hobeika: There is an accessibility issue in the system that the private sector allows me to fill in a bit […] We are adding an offer for patients who can come to visit us without a referral, for a second opinion, who can access express appointments, and get diagnostic tests quickly.

A medical professional discusses with a journalist.

Jad Hobeika, pulmonologist, Lacroix Medical Group

Photo: Radio Canada/David Gentile

As the Managing Director of La Croix Medical Group, Jean-Nicolas Chagnon points out, demand there […] exponential growth every year.

People need services quickly and we provide access, which is complementary to the public networkhe adds.

A mental health nurse joined the group at the beginning of the summer, along with a general practitioner.

They both appreciate the professional freedom that their employer affords them and also dismantle the myth that the private sector is frequented only by the rich.

On the contrary, we see everything, even patients who receive social assistance and those who have saved up to come and seeEmmy Gervais, a GP in the private sector since receiving her diploma six years ago, confirms.

After humble beginnings in the Quebec region, Lacroix Medical Group now has 90 doctors in ten clinics across Quebec, two operating theatres, a private laboratory and nearly a hundred employees.

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555 doctors bill without going through RAMQ

More and more doctors are moving into the private sector in Quebec. Sometimes to practice there full time, if not alternate with their practice in the public network.

According to the latest data from the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ), the number of medical professionals moving into the private sector over the past five years has increased by 55% to 178 physicians.

In particular there are dermatologists and plastic surgeons, as well as anesthesiologists, gynecologists, radiologists, psychiatrists and a few pulmonologists such as Dr. Hobeika.

Family physicians are also likely to make the leap into the private sector.

Over the past five years, their number has increased by 27% to 377 physicians.

Altogether, the proportion of physicians practicing outside the health insurance system is trending toward 3%, while it was less than 2% in mid-2010.

There are more than 21,000 doctors in Quebec.

A doctor decides to work in the private sector as a doctor don’t share In particular, RAMQ must notify its patients of the need to bear the fee in full and post the rates in the waiting room of the office.

According to MSSS data, there are 22 specialized medical centers in which non-participating physicians practice exclusively.


In March 2022, the group Médecins québécois pour le régime public published a press release reminding of their concerns about the ambitions of the private sector.

Every healthcare professional working in the private sector is a lower healthcare professional in the public network. »

Quote from Quebec Physicians for General Plan, March 2022

A doctor working in both the public and private sectors can refer his patients who are examined in the public sector to provide care in the private sector and increase his income. […] It raises important ethical issues through the blatant conflict of interest it generateshe wrote.

At the Montreal Institute of Economics, we instead encourage liberalization of the health care system, in particular by Lifting the ban on duplicate health insurance in addition to Restrictions on Mixed Practices for Health Professionals.

In 2005, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in a Chully decision that when Quebecers cannot obtain public health care within a reasonable time, they should be able to obtain private insurance.

The Health Insurance Act was later amended to allow private insurance, but only for knee, hip and cataract surgeries.

party stands

Since the start of the election campaign, Most of the political parties have spoken Increase or decrease the assignment of surgical operations to the private sector using the health insurance card. A phenomenon that has reached about 15% of its size since the start of the pandemic.

The Conservative Party of Quebec (PCQ), in particular, You will gradually explore Possibility to give Quebec residents the freedom to choose to sign up for supplemental private insurance to get health care already covered by a health insurance plan.