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Quebec Radiologists In Court For Writing Letter

January 17, 2014
Written by: , Filed in: Medical Ethics, Practice Management
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Two Quebec radiologists were defending themselves in court this week because they wrote a letter to the provincial health minister.

According to the Montreal Gazette, the radiologists are Frédéric Dejardins, MD, president of the Quebec Association of Radiologists (known as ARQ, the initials of its French name), and Gaétan Barrette, MD, president of the Quebec Federation of Medical Specialists (FMSQ, the initials of its French name). Dr. Barrette is also a former ARQ president. In March 2008 they wrote a letter to Philippe Couillard, MD, who was then the Quebec health minister.

The letter said that some radiologists were turning to private investors to finance their clinics, and that those non-physician investors were taking control of some private radiology clinics. The letter expressed worry about such transactions:

It is our opinion that all activities in medical imaging laboratories be under the authority of doctors in order to ensure quality medical exams and protections of the patients.

So the heads of two medical associations wrote to the provincial health minister about a perceived health care issue. What’s the problem?

Neither organization was registered with the province’s Registry of Lobbyists. So prosecutors contend the two doctors engaged in illegal lobbying. If found guilty, they would be subject to civil fines; the charges are not criminal in nature.

Drs. Barrette and Desjardins say the lobbying law violates their right to freedom of expression. Testifying in their defense, the FMSQ’s director of legal affairs, Sylvain Bellavance, said health ministry officials had actually requested the letter during one of his regular discussions with them.

We’d like to comment about this, but we’re not registered as lobbyists in Quebec either. So we’ll just say that Quebec prosecutors must have very few miscreants to deal with and considerable time on their hands.

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  1. Quebec Radiologists In Court For Writing Letter - Radiology Daily | My WebsiteMy Website on January 24th, 2014 at 5:04 am

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