Accessory Fees : The FMSQ asks the Minister and the Collège to clarify their positions

Montreal, June 18, 2015 – The Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec (FMSQ) salutes the Minister of Health's decision to finally take a stand regarding the billing of accessory fees and to provide a mechanism to establish the fees that will be billable to patients seen in doctors' offices.

It was in 2007 that Jean Charest's liberal government created a committee to work on accessory fees, a committee which tabled its report on October 3, 2007 to then Minister of Health, Philippe Couillard. The report set out various facts and called upon the government to settle the question rapidly, in particular by clarifying existing rules.

"The issue of accessory fees and the inadequate financing of medical offices which offer patient care has been known for many years," declared the President of the FMSQ, Dr Diane Francœur. "In 2007, and again recently, the Federation publicly intervened to pressure the government into making a decision in order to clear up the fog surrounding this issue."

"The Minister announces today that the billing of accessory fees will be taken in hand. We are happy to hear him say so and are more than ready to cooperate on the tripartite committee that will determine the fees billable to patients for certain insured services offered in a doctor's office," continued Dr Francœur.

However, certain questions remain pending and the FMSQ is asking the Minister to clarify his position. In fact, the Federation considers it is essential to make sure that the level of accessory fees applicable to each act performed in a doctor's office is well established, along with the conditions that allow it, taking into account the clinical imperatives of various medical specialties. Moreover, the FMSQ considers that this new decision by the Minister of Health must not be implemented by means of regulations, as set out in the amendments tabled by the Minister within the context of the detailed study of Bill 20. "We are asking the Minister to withdraw his amendments and to aim for a formal agreement with our Federation, to everyone's satisfaction, that of the patients to start with," adds the President of the FMSQ.

For medical specialists, it is becoming urgent. The Minister has evoked the possibility that the application of certain sections of the Code of Ethics be deferred, until this exercise has been completed. "The Minister must confirm this deferral immediately and the Collège des médecins du Québec must communicate clear and precise instructions to medical specialists with regard to applying the code in order to avoid any interruption of services to the population," concluded Dr Francœur, reminding everyone that doctors' offices offer an additional means of access to services and care in addition to that offered by hospital centres which would not be able to satisfy patients' needs.

The Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec represents close to 10,000 medical specialists certified in one of the 53 recognized medical specialties.