Here’s why you could find yourself without a family doctor as of Saturday

Here’s why you could find yourself without a family doctor as of Saturday
Here’s why you could find yourself without a family doctor as of Saturday

Negotiations are underway “day and evening” between the CAQ government and representatives of the Federation of General Practitioners of Quebec (FMOQ).

• Read also: Front line access counter: Christian Dubé believes he can reach an agreement with the FMOQ by Friday

• Read also: End of bonuses for orphan patients via the GAP: the population taken “hostage” by doctors, says Minister Dubé

• Read also: Front line access window: FMOQ doctors call for a mediator

But if the parties do not reach an agreement by Friday, several orphan patients could find themselves without a family doctor.

If the Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, is hopeful of reaching an agreement with general practitioners before the end of the week, the president of the FMOQ, Marc-André Amyot, is not so convinced.

Here is a summary of this new conflict between the government and family doctors.

End of the GAP agreement

An agreement between Minister Dubé and the FMOQ was reached in 2022 so that family medicine groups (GMF) take care of orphan patients, that is to say people who were without a family doctor, via the GAP .

This notably provided for a “bonus” of $120 to be paid to doctors for each patient from the First Line Access Center (GAP) registered with a GMF.

However, the agreement expires on May 31, Friday, putting an end, at the same time, to the annual package of $120.

Not enough for the money

After consulting the data on appointments offered by doctors, obtained last Thursday thanks to the entry into force of a regulation adopted within the framework of Bill 11, Minister Dubé concluded that Quebecers do not had “not gotten their money’s worth”.

This is particularly why he wishes, as part of these negotiations, to reach an agreement with doctors to ensure that orphan patients who need an appointment can have one.

“My priority is that appointments are missing, and I want to ensure that Quebecers who really need an appointment will have enough appointments to be able to see a doctor” , said Mr. Dubé in a press scrum on Tuesday.

In a publication on the social network X, he also specified that he would be firm on this point during the negotiations.

“What we are firm on on our side are the results, the appointments for the patients who need them,” we can read.

The minister, however, refuses to reveal the data he obtained last Thursday.

No bonus, fewer appointments

Faced with the imminent end of payment of the $120 premium, several GMFs sent letters to patients registered with the GAP to inform them that they would no longer be followed as of June 1st.

The number of appointments offered on the GAP website also dropped drastically, from 17,604 appointments in the week of May 18 to only 2,602 for the week of June 15.

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This situation means that some 900,000 orphan patients could find themselves without family doctors as of Saturday.

A new organizational model

For the president of the FMOQ, Marc-André Amyot, the problem between the government and general practitioners “is not a matter of money”, but rather of an organizational model which needed to be revised.

“We had two years to agree on a new organizational model, somewhat in continuity with what we had put in place for two years,” he said in an interview with Mario Dumont at LCN.

The latter also mentions that the method of remuneration should be reviewed.

“Doctors are paid on a fee-for-service basis. Is this the best compensation model? Certainly not. And that’s what we had to see again for June 1st. A new organizational model. A new remuneration model,” explains the president of the FMOQ.

Heavier cases

The method of remuneration also becomes problematic due to the heavier cases seen by GMF doctors.

Since “milder” cases can be seen by other professionals in the group, family doctors end up with patients with more significant health problems.

However, they are not paid more because they see heavier cases, deplores the FMOQ.

“If family doctors see heavier, more complex patients, and they have the same remuneration, that doesn’t fit, there is something that is not working,” denounces Dr. Amyot.

Extension of the agreement

Faced with the imminent end of the agreement between family doctors and the government, the FMOQ would like it to be extended by three months.

“We are not ready for June 1, so what we are asking now is to continue this agreement temporarily until we determine a modus operandi, a better way to improve access” , wishes Dr. Marc-André Amyot.

A conciliator was appointed last Friday to try to find common ground between the two parties.

They are relying on him to resolve the impasse before Saturday.

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