Bill 20 and its implications for the most vulnerable patients

May 13th, 2015

Projet loi 20The HIV community in Québec will be paying particular attention to news about Bill 20 in the coming weeks.
This bill, whose objective is to improve access to the health system, is mainly about setting patient quotas for family doctors. It requires them to see a minimum number of patients or have their pay reduced by up to 30%.

According to the model envisaged in the bill, a person who is HIV-positive counts as two patients due to the complexity of his/her medical care. However, for people involved in the struggle against HIV in Quebec, this coefficient does not reflect the medical reality of people who, in addition to living with HIV, grapple with other health problems such as Hepatitis C, dependence on drugs, medication or alcohol, or mental problems.

Many fear that Bill 20 actually reduces access to health care and leads to some forms of discrimination that shut out the most vulnerable patients. In a letter to the Minister of Health and Social Services, published in La Presse on 2 April 2015, Thérèse Richer, executive director of MIELS-Québec, aptly sums up the feelings of a good number of family doctors, health care staff, stakeholders and patients: “The focus should be on real life which, in actual practice, does not fit into systematic mathematical calculations.”

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