By Robert Frank
As predicted in last week’s edition of The Suburban, Quebec Health Minister Dr. Réjean Hébert visited Laval, Feb. 21, to announce Parti québécois government plans to give more money to the Cité de la santé superhospital.
The sojourn was just one of the latest stops on Dr. Hébert’s ongoing whirlwind shuttle around the province. For the past two weeks, the health minister has visited various regional health authorities to lavish cash, in the lead-up to an anticipated provincial election call. On Friday alone, he announced plans to give $32 million to hospitals in St. Jérôme, Ste. Agathe and Ste. Eustache, as well as in Laval.
Many Laval residents are currently treated at the McGill University Hospital Centre (MUHC) and the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) and remain worried that they will henceforth be obliged to seek treatment in Laval.
“We’re adding capacity. It’s in addition to, not instead of,” reassured Dr. Hébert during an interview with The Suburban, immediately after a news conference at the superhospital.
“[Those] patients will continue after April 1 without any problem,” the health minister promised. “They won’t be transferred. Even new patients who want to receive their treatment at the Jewish [General Hospital] or at the MUHC can receive it there. We forecast a certain portion of patients from Laval, the Laurentians and Landaudière will continue to receive their treatment on Montreal Island. There’s no change.”
As previously reported, Laval’s health authority told The Suburban that it anticipates that 100 percent of pre-dialysis patients currently followed by MUHC and CHUM will be “repatriated” in the short term. Those 48 pre-dialysis patients will henceforth get their treatment at in Laval as will about 260 cataract surgery patients a year.
The new patients will be phased in at a rate of two-to-three per month: 28 during the first year and the remaining 20 between March or April 2015 and February 2016.
An internal presentation on the regionalization program obtained by The Suburban revealed that ASSS Montreal also wanted to ship pregnant women needing obstetric care, patients slated for day surgery and stable chronic disease sufferers back to their home regions.
However, Laval regional health authority spokeswoman Francine Gosselin told The Suburban that those changes have been postponed.
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