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Geneviève Biron becomes head of Santé Québec

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Frédéric Abergel, head of the Center hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, will serve as vice president of the agency.

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The head of Santé Québec will be Geneviève Biron, who led the private provider Biron Health Group from 2014 to 2021, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé announced Monday afternoon.

Dubé also announced that Frédéric Abergel, head of the Center hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, will serve as the agency's executive vice president of operations and transformation.

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“A complementary duo with an external person but also an internal person,” Dubé said at an afternoon press conference about both nominations.

According to the website, Biron is the founder and current president of Propulia Capital, an “international investment platform.” She has also been a member of the board of Hydro-Québec since 2021.

“She is a Quebec entrepreneur whose family founded one of our most beautiful jewels in Quebec. “It has decided to face this major challenge with the main motivation of improving the population’s access to health and social services,” said Dubé.

The government announced that Biron would take measures to avoid potential conflicts of interest related to her professional activities and those of her family members. “Biron will distance itself from decisions regarding its investments that could impact the health sector in Quebec,” the government statement said. “Furthermore, she will erect an ethical barrier between herself and the members of her family, commonly referred to as the Great Wall of China. This screen stipulates that it is not possible to exchange health-related dossiers in which her family or husband may be involved at a professional level and which may have a connection with Santé Québec or the institutions or organizations managed by Santé Quebec. ”

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The Santé Québec board will ensure that the law is complied with, the statement said.

Dubé described Abergel as “an experienced manager who knows well the impact of the public health network, but also… social services.”

“He will work to improve operational management and accelerate digital transformation,” Dubé said.

Biron's appointment as president marks the official launch of Santé Québec, which was created as a revamp of the health network following the adoption of Bill 15 by the National Assembly in December 2023. The agency will be responsible for coordinating network operations.

Biron, along with Dubé and Abergel, thanked the government for its trust at Monday's press conference and called her nomination a privilege.

“Our healthcare system faces numerous challenges,” said Biron, “including access issues, long waiting times, staff shortages and an aging population.” I recognize that much has already been done in recent years; There were actions we can be proud of and build on.”

Biron said their main focus will be on improving access to services, adding that Santé Québec will make the health system “more humane and efficient.”

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“I come here today with a different perspective on our healthcare system and want to contribute to an innovative approach and vision,” she said. “I think we all realize that things need to change.”

Abergel agreed that the goal is to improve access, which he said involves three things: better coordination within the network, better global practices and innovation.

“My job will be to figure out how we can work better together to better serve Quebecers,” he said.

The two said they would be visiting facilities over the next few weeks and months to meet with on-site teams.

“By working together, we can be successful together,” said Abergel.

Biron will receive an annual base salary of $567,000, which will increase by 15 percent (up to $652,050) during the first two years of her term. Biron will also receive a monthly car allowance of $610 “in lieu of reimbursement for any travel expenses incurred within 10 miles of her usual place of work.”

The new CEO is entitled to a monthly allowance of $1,573 if “the distance between (her) place of work and his place of residence requires him to incur housing expenses.”

The new agency boss can also claim expenses of up to $4,830 per year and can look forward to six weeks of vacation.

News of the salary drew the ire of unions, which in January called it excessive.

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