$ 270,000 for canceled surgeries


Patients who do not show up for their private surgery have caused a waste of public funds

The Ministry of Health has paid more than $ 270,000 for canceled surgeries as part of the pilot project to operate patients in public hospitals in three private clinics.

This waste of public funds is largely due to the negligence of patients who did not show up for procedures such as cataract removal or colonoscopy.

Only at the Rockland MD clinic, $ 108,000 was paid between May 2017 and March 2018 for surgeries that never took place.

“This is a known problem,” says Clinic Director Dr. Fernand Taras. Patients change their minds, but they do not notify the hospital [who refers], “he says.

The pilot project put in place by the Ministry of Health aims to reduce waiting lists in hospitals and measure the cost of each intervention. Patients are referred by public hospitals and the costs are borne by the ministry. When surgeries or exams are canceled, the clinics receive half of the planned fee for surgery.

Almost every day

On average, at least one surgery is canceled daily in one of three private clinics. In an attempt to stem the problem, Rockland MD has reached an agreement with the North Island Integrated Health and Social Services Center.

“To avoid the” no show “of patients, we call ourselves 48 hours in advance to confirm,” says Dr. Taras.

At Surgery DIX30, there were fewer cancellations than in the other two clinics.

“We work hard to ensure that we do not have any,” says Anne-Marie Germain, director of customer service. Most of the interventions at DIX30 are cataract extractions lasting about 15 minutes. Cancellations therefore have less impact than elsewhere.

Clinics must have staff for each intervention, which explains the compensation paid by the department. According to Dr. Taras, these false patient leaps have a financial impact.

“Calculating the cost of each intervention shows the financial impact for us, but also what it means for hospitals when patients do not show up. “

Are important at stake

The data obtained by our Investigation Office shows that in some cases of canceled complex surgeries, the government has had to pay more than $ 1,000 each time.

Only last March, 57 surgeries or exams were canceled at the Opmédic clinic in Laval. Of these, there are five colonoscopies on the same day.

Opmedic refused to comment, as she has always done since the beginning of the pilot project.

“No information is given,” said a company manager who was purchased by Integramed Fertility, a company whose capital is held almost entirely by Sagard Holdings.


Rockland MD Surgery Center

  • 248 surgeries: $ 108,310

Opmedic Group Inc.

  • 350 surgeries: $ 94,866

Clinic Surgery DIX30

  • 187 surgeries: $ 66,221


From mastectomy to vasectomy to carpal tunnel decompression or cyst removal, the variety of surgeries performed since the start of the pilot project in 2016 is impressive.

In total, the government has provided more than $ 23 million for this private surgeries program, well beyond the originally planned $ 4 million per year.

“We did 400 different types of interventions. I was surprised to see that, “says Dr. Fernand Taras of Rockland MD.

A total of 90 surgeons used the operating rooms at his clinic to complete the pilot project.

The Ministry of Health explains that a list of facilities that can send patients to the private sector was established at the beginning of the pilot project, and that others could be added along the way. The goal is to have the widest possible range to determine the costs of surgeries.

It is the institutions that decide whether or not to send patients according to the length of their waiting list. Surgeons then get the opportunity to book time slots in the private.

The pilot project gives an idea of ​​the costs of different surgeries. The government paid $ 2149 for a finger amputation, or $ 490 for a colonoscopy.

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