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Health Minister Danielle McCann says changing doctors’ pay key to improving Quebec health care

Danielle McCann sits down for a one-on-one interview with Global News
Quebec Health Minister Danielle McCann sits down with Global News for a one-on-one interview.

Premier François Legault has credited what he calls the “McCann method” with some of the accomplishments the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government has been able to make in health care this year.

In a sit-down, year-end interview with Global News, Danielle McCann said the premier is making an allusion to her approach as health minister.

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“I think he’s referring to my way of wanting to collaborate very much with everybody in the network and how we are succeeding in some ways,” she said.

McCann has already tabled legislation to give more autonomy to nurse practitioners and pharmacists. She said the next step is changing the way family doctors are paid.

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“This is a transformation that is very important.”

McCann said 50 per cent of visits to emergency rooms are for things that do not need to be treated in the ER, but could rather be treated in CLSCs (government-run health clinics) or even pharmacies.

Quebec wants to give nurse practitioners more autonomy
Quebec wants to give nurse practitioners more autonomy

“These are very important changes in the network, and this requires collaboration from the professional orders,” she said.

“It’s very fundamental for citizens of Quebec because as we will reinforce the services in what we call the first line, people won’t have to go to the emergency room.”

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According to McCann, it is still a realistic goal to reduce ER wait times to 90 minutes, something the CAQ government promised during the last provincial election.

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“We’re working towards that. And that’s why what we’re doing with the Fédération des médecins omnipraticiens (Federation of General Practitioners of Quebec), the family doctors, is fundamental because when we change the way they will be paid, they will work differently,” she said.

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Doctors are currently paid based on a fee-for-service model. McCann wants to change that so physicians are paid per patient.

She said that will encourage doctors to delegate tasks to other members of their team, like nurses. That, in turn, will free them up to see more patients.

“Right now, they have to see the patient to be paid. It’s not an adaptive way of being paid,” she said.

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By comparison, McCann said, in New Brunswick, half of a family doctor’s work is done over the phone or online.

“That will make people come to the clinics because it will be more accessible to see a family doctor or a member of the team,” she said.