Quebec may waive rules for doctors due to coronavirus

A law that requires doctors in Quebec to apply for a license to practice medicine in a certain area of the province may be waived in response to the coronavirus.

A law that requires doctors in Quebec to apply for a license, known as a PREM, to practice medicine in a certain area of the province may be waived in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Post Millennial reached out to Francine Goldberg, Founder and Director of Marketing at Clinique Medic Elle in Westmount, Montreal, for more information on the issue of what PREM is and what it would mean in the face of this pandemic.

While PREMS normally pose a minor problem, according to Goldberg, the situation is more problematic given the medical ramp up necessary to battle the coronavirus.

“So the situation we’re in right now is we’re in desperate need of doctors," Goldberg told The Post Millennial. "Doctors do not want to take a chance and work because A) they’ll be paid at 70 percent and B) if they work without a PREM, they won’t be allowed to apply for a PREM for another 5 years."

When asked if the laws would be changed given the current emergency, Goldberg said “What I heard, and it might be a rumour, is that they’re waiving PREMS. I don’t know if it's true but we’re speaking with the media and asking if they’re willing to push it.”

Giving some background, Goldberg The Post Millennial that “A PREM is like a geographical license. So after you graduate, after going to school for seven years and you want to practice at a downtown clinic or at a clinic in NDG but the government doesn’t let you. And if you decide to go against them, they’ll pay you at 70 percent of your pay. So for every 100 dollars, you’ll only make 70, which is draconian and unethical.”

PREMS are required "Because they want to make physicians work 55 per cent of their time in the hinterlands," said Goldberg. "They’re stupid because instead of providing incentives, they punish. So what happens consequently from this is most people don’t have family doctors because there is a brain drain, number one. Number two, the government gives no PREMS in areas that are concentrated. So it ends up costing the taxpayer a lot of money because patients end up not having a family doctor and they end up going to emergency. So instead of it costing the taxpayer $70 dollars it ends up costing the taxpayer $1500 dollars, so it’s problematic.”

There are now a total of 39 confirmed cases of coronavirus across Quebec, with 10 in Montreal. That number is expected to take another leap this week.