How the Profession Is Organized

In Quebec, medical specialists work mainly in hospital centres and in specialized medical offices. In addition to their clinical work, medical specialists provide supervision for residents and medical students, teach in universities and are often involved in medical research.

Medical specialists work in association with treatment teams to dispense or make provision for continuous care to patients. There are multidisciplinary teams in several organizations or medical groups. For example, an orthopedic surgeon works along with a general practitioner, a physiotherapist, a kinesiologist, an occupational therapist, etc. An endocrinologist works with a team of nutritionists, psychologists and kinesiologists. The patient is at the centre of the interventions performed by medical specialists.

The Professional Order

In Quebec, the Collège des médecins du Québec (CMQ) is the organization responsible for delivering permits to practise to physicians. It is also responsible for verifying the competence of future physicians and ensuring that practising physicians maintain their competence adequately, via programs specifically developed for this purpose. The CMQ also investigates complaints from the public and is sometimes called upon to state its position in certain public debates involving the practice of medicine in Quebec.

The Collège des médecins du Québec's website

Medical Federations

Medical federations represent physicians in their dealings with the government. Why ? Because physicians are self-employed in the majority of cases, which means that they bill the services they render to patients. Medical federations are the entities that negotiate the agreements for physicians, whether they are resident physicians, general practitioners or medical specialists.

In Quebec, there are four medical federations :

The Department of Health and Social Services (MSSS)

The MSSS manages the budgets allocated to Health. Since 1970, Quebec operates under a public health insurance system. The Department must respect the Public Health Act of Canada in its decisions, actions and management.

The Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux website

The Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ)

The Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec is an organization reporting to the MSSS that sees to, on the one hand, the delivery of insured medical services and, on the other, the remuneration of physicians. Physicians are self-employed, except in rare cases. They must therefore invoice the RAMQ for the services they render to patients. However, there are different methods of remuneration : per act, as a lump sum, on an hourly basis, as mixed remuneration, etc.

The Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec website