Bonjour-santé service asks court to stop health ministry audit

RAMQ investigating whether for-fee appointment booking service is against the law.

An online service that finds clients a medical appointment within 48 hours for a fee has turned to Québec Superior Court to stop an audit by Québec’s health insurance board.

Patients’ rights lawyer Jean-Pierre Ménard launched legal action in May 2016 aimed at making sure the federal government enforces the Canada Health Act in the province. Jacques Boissinot, Canadian Press

Davide Gentile, CBC News Montréal June 2, 2017

The service, Bonjour-santé, has been around since 2012 and charges clients $17.25 plus tax for the service, which RAMQ auditors now believe may be against the law.

Bonjour-santé is asking Québec Superior Court to order RAMQ to stop the audit and return documents seized during the process.

In court documents, the company accuses the government of undertaking a “fishing expedition” with the goal of obtaining information on its appointment system, which is linked to 280 clinics around Québec.

The company also calls the RAMQ audit a conflict of interest because the government is in the process of implementing its own online appointment system.

The company says RAMQ wants to obtain algorithms from its website as well as its client list.

“How will my client list help the RAMQ,” asked Bonjour-santé president Benoit Brunel.

“I never would have believed an entrepreneur could be treated like this by the government.”

‘Expropriation of our market’, Bonjour-santé says

Appointments will be free through the new government system, which is being designed by the computer engineering firm CGI.

Brunel’s company had put in a bid for the $4.5-million government contract, but lost to CGI.

Brunel, however, said the legal process he has undertaken is not fuelled by the frustration of losing the tender.

According to Bonjour-santé, the government system should not “be used as a pretext to interfere with a proven solution.”

Brunel is also unhappy that Québec’s health ministry will encourage family doctor groups and super-clinics to only book through the government system once it is fully up and running.

“It’s akin to an expropriation of our market,” he said.

The government system will be piloted in Laval starting Sunday, before being extended to all regions of the province.

RAMQ was asked to comment but declined because the case is before the courts.

Source CBC News Montréal


Also see
Québec launches province-wide registry to help residents get a family doctor in CBC News
Gaétan Barrette, doctors group clash over pace of signing up new patients in CBC News
What can you be billed for? A guide to Québec ban on medical user fees in CBC News
Private clinics can’t bill random companies for patient’s surgery, Québec health minister insists in CBC News
Doctors’ billing is ‘ambiguous and confusing,’ rules Québec auditor general in CBC News

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