CRDS : Greater Access to Care with the Addition of New Medical Specialties

Montreal, September 4, 2018 – Seven new medical specialties have been added today to the list of those taking part in the access to care measure contained in the MSSS-FMSQ Agreement called Accès priorisé aux services spécialisés or APSS (priority access to specialized services). The specialties of general surgery, vascular surgery, hematology-oncology, internal medicine, neurosurgery, physiatry (physical rehabilitation medicine) and rheumatology are now added to those included in the first phase, i.e. cardiology, orthopedic surgery, gastroenterology, nephrology, neurology, ophthalmology, otorhinolaryngology, pediatrics and urology.

"The numbers are already showing probative results with regard to access to specialized care. Over a period of 17 months, close to 500,000 consultations were provided in one of the 9 medical specialties of Phase 1 of the APSS. The first months of its implementation were difficult, since we had to harmonize the elements already in place with those that could differ from one region to another : from the form to the computer system and on to the organization of services after the training of staff and physicians. Today, we have identified all the obstacles that acted as a brake on efficiency, by taking into account technological hurdles such as the use of fax machines. We are thus undertaking Phase 2 with enthusiasm," explains the President of the Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec (FMSQ), Dr Diane Francœur.

"The modifications made were major for the practice of medicine and had as an objective to improve access to specialized consultations for patients. The Centre de répartition des demandes de services or CRDS (service request distribution centre) is one of the commitments in our action plan to ensure greater access. We follow results closely and how delay priorities are respected. If need be, we interact with our medical associations so that the adjustments required are implemented rapidly," explains the President.

The APSS consists of offering a patient the corridor of services needed for his or her state of health.

Method of Operation

With the help of a form specific to each region, the family physician requests a consultation and indicates the clinical priority that is associated with it.

  • Priority A : Open a service corridor after a telephone consultation with a specialist
  • Priority B : Less than 10 days
  • Priority C : Less than 1 month
  • Priority D : Less than 3 months
  • Priority E : Less than 1 year

The CRDS must validate each priority and set appointments within the prescribed delays. Participating medical specialists have to reserve time slots in order to respect this measure to improve access.

Ten other medical specialities will be added to the APSS in 2019.

"More than ever, we are convinced of the pertinence of our plan of action to improve access to care. The demonstration is clear : collaboration is much more successful than confrontation," added Dr Francœur in closing.

The Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec represents more than 10,000 medical specialists certified in one of 59 recognized medical specialties. Its mission is to defend and support medical specialists from its affiliated associations who work in the public healthcare system while contributing to the advancement of quality care and services for the people of Quebec.