The operations carried out in the private sector would cost up to two and a half times more expensive than in the public, show unpublished government data unveiled as Quebec prepares to make more room for private health.

This unprecedented data comes from a pilot project launched in 2016 by former Minister of Health, Gaétan Barrette, to compare the costs of five types of surgeries and procedures between the public network and three private clinics: RocklandMD, Chirurgie DIX30 and Opmedic.

Concluded in March 2020, some time before the start of the pandemic, the results of this pilot project had never been made public until recently. A request for access to information made by the researcher at the Institute for Socioeconomic Research and Information (IRIS), Anne Plourde, has changed the situation.

“This pilot project, which aimed to assess the most efficient ways of delivering health services in order to make the best possible use of public funds, clearly demonstrated that the public is more efficient than the private,” she said. , in an interview.

According to the figures thus made public, the cost of certain surgical procedures carried out in these private medical centers is indeed much higher than when they are carried out to the public.

For example, in 2019-2020, the cost of a carpal tunnel operation was on average $908 in the private sector compared to $495 in the public sector, a difference of 84%, and that of a short colonoscopy was $739 in the private sector. , nearly triple the cost of the same public intervention, which was $290.

In rare cases, private clinics have actually managed to perform these procedures at a lower cost than in some public establishments, but on average, it is rather the opposite.

Moreover, the results of the pilot project launched by Gaétan Barrette show that between the two years studied, i.e. 2018-2019 and 2019-2020, public institutions managed to significantly reduce the cost of three of the four interventions for which data is available.

“It’s probably linked to the conditions negotiated with private clinics as part of this pilot project,” points out Anne Plourde in particular to explain these results.

Indeed, a profit margin of 10% had been provided for the private clinics targeted by the project, not to mention the fact that they assumed no financial risk since the reimbursement of all expenses was guaranteed.

The final cost of the pilot project, which amounts to 80 million between 2016 and 2020, also demonstrates that the private sector is not necessarily a source of savings, estimates Anne Plourde, since it was initially supposed to be only 4 million.

The Coalition avenir Québec wants to increase the place of the private sector in health by launching a call for projects to build two new private medical centers halfway between a family medicine group and a hospital to treat minor cases who have not need to go to the emergency room.