The population of the Bas-Saint-Laurent region has easy access to both routine and specialized health care services.
Well-Established Community Services
Compared to the provincial average, the region has one and half times as many short term care hospital facilities and two and a half times as many local community service centers (CLSC’s) and service points per 1000 inhabitants. These facilities are usually located close to the community and in fact there are at least two hospitals or CLSC’s in each RCM. Local residents have shown that they have a close attachment to these facilities, perhaps due to the sense of local identity they provide.
In the current context of budget cuts to the health sector, there is constant concern about the organization of services in the RCM’s. However, despite the changes that are taking place, the local population continues to benefit from a wide range of services from the prevention of functional incapacity to the provision of institutional accommodation.
An Extended Network
The region’s extensive health system is supported by the Régie régional de la Santé et des services sociaux (RRSSS) of the Bas-Saint-Laurent. This organization is responsible for planning, organizing, implementing and evaluating health and social service programs offered to the people of the Bas-Saint-Laurent region.
The RRSSS estimates that health and social service expenditures in the Bas-Saint-Laurent totalled $306,200,000 in 1995-96. In total there is the equivalent of 6,000 full-time jobs distributed across the system’s 25 public facilities. Two hundred and four general practitioners provide services in the Bas-Saint-Laurent. In addition, the region relies on the support of 140 funded community organizations and hundreds of volunteers.
|Licensed Public and Private Health Facilities
|Type of Facility
|Hospital Centers (CH): general and specialized health care
|Long-term Care Hospital Center (CHSDL): intermediate resources
|Long-term Care Hospital Center (CHSDL): private and licensed
|Local Community Service Centers (CLSC)
|Regional Centers (CR), mental disabilities
|Source : RRSSS, Rapport annuel d'activités 1995-1996, septembre 1996.|
Private sector services which are complementary to or distinct from those provided by the public sector are being increasingly integrated into the health system: private clinics which offer the services of doctors and other professionals in the health and social services sector, private care and long-term stay facilities, low-cost housing, private residences, etc.
Since 1996, the Centre hospitalier régional de Rimouski has had the infrastructure and equipment in place to provide care to cancer patients. The only facility of its kind in Eastern Quebec, patients can receive all manner of cancer treatment close to home. In addition, the Association du cancer de l’Est-du-Québec (ACEQ) has achieved its goal of building a regional hostel which provides minimum-cost accommodation for patients, their families and friends who accompany them during treatment.
The Centre hospitalier régional du Grand-Portage (CHRGP) has acquired equipment for treatments in nuclear medicine. The involvement and efforts of the community enabled the Centre hospitalier de Matane to acquire a CAT scan.
Unique Pilot Projects in the Bas-Saint-Laurent Region
For four years now, the "Carte à puces santé" has been undergoing an evaluation in Rimouski. This project, sponsored by the Régie de l’assurance-maladie du Québec, is being carried out jointly by Laval University’s Department of Social Medicine and Rimouski’s Public Health Unit. This new type of health card uses an electronic chip to manage card owners’ administrative and medical information.
The project crossed another bridge in March 1996 when the Quebec government authorized the creation of a company to market the technology of the electronic chip-containing health card. This card will replace the present "carte soleil" as of 1998. The new card will first be used to track administrative information but will eventually integrate clinical data, as was done in the Rimouski test case.
Collaboration between the Centre hospitalier régional de Rimouski (CHRR), the Centre hospitalier de l’Université Laval (CHUL) and QUÉBECTEL has led to the development of remote diagnosis, a process which enables observers to watch a medical examination in real time through the use of the information highway. This new initiative will allow hospitals to share radiology services and to access the CHUL’s pediatric echocardiography facilities. The results of this important project mean that quality health care services, through rapid access to specialized diagnostic services, can be offered across the region. Evidence of the experiment’s success: QUÉBECTEL is in the process of marketing the technology in Latin America.