Today the Chaoulli Group launches its activities

    MONTREAL, Oct. 10 /CNW Telbec/ - It is in the presence of many healthcare
personalities that Dr Jacques Chaoulli, known for his victory before the
Supreme Court for invalidating the ban on private health insurance, has
launched the activities of his company, the Chaoulli Group.
    The purpose of the Chaoulli Group is to offer its members a fast access
to healthcare services, with physicians and with dentist pediatricians. In
order to reach that goal, the Chaoulli Group has entered into agreements with
professionals from the private sector and with certain professionals from the
public sector who committed not to reduce their workload under the public plan
and to provide additional time to treat patients members of the Chaoulli
Group, under private financing.
    That way, the activities of the Chaoulli Group will have the effect of
freeing space in the public plan, and allowing other patients, not members of
the Chaoulli Group, to benefit from a reduction in their wait times in the
public plan. In that regard, several physicians and dentist pediatricians, who
had recently opted out of the public plan, have expressed to Dr Chaoulli their
interest in coming back in the public plan and add a private practice for
patients members of the Chaoulli Group.
    In addition to offering its members a fast access to healthcare services,
the Chaoulli Group offer them a private info-health service 24/7, emergency
helicopter-ambulance transportation 24/7, and a fast access to a physician in
the emergency room of a private hospital located one hour drive from Montreal.

    The business model of the Chaoulli Group is legal

    On May 7th, 2007, Dr Chaoulli held a press conference during which he
announced his intention to launch his company, based particularly, but not
only, on section 22 i) of the Regulation respecting the application of the
Health Insurance Act. The Minister had then asked the legal department of the
ministry to analyze the legality of the application of that section 22 i) to
the Chaoulli Group. Since more than five months, the Minister did not speak
about that matter. Still, Dr Chaoulli had already secured a favorable legal
opinion from a legal firm, confirmed today by Jean-François Gosselin, lawyer.
    On that same day during that press conference, Isabelle Merizzi, press
attaché of Health Minister Philippe Couillard, declared, in La Presse (Edition
May 8th, 2007) : "if it is legal, it may be done". Furthermore, on May 23th,
2007, the RAMQ published an enquiry report stating that a company may charge a
patient for providing a fast access to a physician participating in the public

    Patients have rights for which they have no information

    In August 2007, the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA), the
organization which helps a physician sued by a patient, has addressed a
warning to all Canadian physicians, hospitals and clinics, to the effect that
a patient on waiting list could sue a physician who would not have done
his/her best in order to find a faster access for a consultation or a
treatment, including in the private sector in Quebec or even in the
United-States. So, a patient may require from his/her physician to be
informed, either about a faster access elsewhere, or about the existence of
assistance services like the Chaoulli Group. According to the CMPA, a
hospital, and therefore its Council of physicians, dentists and pharmacists,
have also the duty to facilitate access to legal healthcare services medically
required but not covered under the public plan and which could be delivered in
an operating room not used.

    A Foundation to find solutions for the healthcare system

    During that press conference, Dr Chaoulli has also announced the
establishment of a not-for-profit organization, the Chaoulli Foundation.
Financed, among other sources, from a part of the Chaoulli Group's income,
that Foundation's mission will be to propose new ideas in order to improve the
healthcare system for all Quebecers. The Chaoulli Foundation has already
received the support of high profile personalities like Joanne Castonguay,
economist, Andrée Ruffo, former judge, and Michel Kelly-Gagnon, president of
the Conseil du patronat du Québec, who accepted to be part of it.

    Dr Chaoulli has a lot of supporters

    During his press conference, Dr Chaoulli introduced health professionals
who support his initiative. Let's mention Dr Spiro Dischiliev, general
practitioner, former clinical instructor at Mc Gill University, participating
in the public plan, Dr Dina Cohen, dermatologist, participating in the public
plan, Dr Yvonne Brindusa Vasilie, obstetrician and gynecologist, participating
in the public plan, Dr Patrick Canonne, dentist pediatrician, Director of the
Department of dental medicine at Sainte-Justine Hospital and at Centre de
réadaptation de Marie-Enfant, non-participating in the public plan, Dr Duy-Dat
Vu, dentist pediatrician, President of the Quebec Association of dentist
pediatricians, and Chief of the Department of dental medicine at Mc Gill
University Health Center, participating in the public plan.
    Those professionals joined the press conference of Dr Chaoulli in order
to testify about the suffering of patients on long waiting lists, and they
emphasized the benefit, for the public regime, in terms of a reduction of wait
time resulting from the Chaoulli Group initiative. Other physicians
participating in the public plan, like Dr Hussein Fadlallah, cardiologist and
Dr François Brabant, general practitioner, were sorry not be able to join the
press conference, due to their schedule.
    One can join the Chaoulli Group online at

For further information:

For further information: Julie Villeneuve, Groupe 2000 neuf, (514)
868-2009, extension 34, Cell: (514) 240-6754; Frederique Laurier, Groupe 2000
neuf, (514) 868-2009, Cell: (514) 979-2541

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