The health network

The health insurance card, better known as the "carte soleil", is the symbol par excellence of the Quebec health care system. This universal public plan allows all Quebecers to have access to free health care. Several organizations are part of this complex network in which medical specialists operate.

The Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux

The Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS) is the umbrella organization for the entire Quebec health network. It is the ministry that ensures the proper functioning of Quebec's health and social services system. To do so, it determines the priorities, objectives and major orientations to be respected by the other players in the network.

The MSSS also assumes these responsibilities:

  • National public health functions
  • Interregional coordination of services
  • Evaluation of mechanisms for coordination of services between institutions
  • Allocation of financial, human and material resources and control of their use
  • Evaluation of the results obtained in relation to the objectives set

The MSSS is also called upon to propose intervention priorities to the government and other social actors in order to act positively on the conditions that promote the health and well-being of the population.

The Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec

The Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) is the managing body of the public health network. It ensures that everything is managed according to sound management principles. It is the RAMQ that pays doctors' fees according to grids negotiated with the doctors' federations.

Responsibilities of the RAMQ:

  • Manage the eligibility of individuals
  • Remunerate health care professionals
  • Ensure adequate controls
  • Informing the public
  • Ensure secure sharing of health information
  • Facilitating access to health care

Integrated centres

Twenty-two integrated centers make up the Quebec health network: thirteen are integrated health and social services centres (CISSS), nine are integrated university health and social services centres (CIUSSS). All of them ensure the accessibility, continuity and quality of services for the population in their area.

These institutions can offer services in several facilities, which are the physical places where health and social services are provided, including hospital centres, CLSCs and CHSLDs.

What is the difference between a CISSS and a CIUSSS?

Unlike the CISSS, CIUSSS is located in a health region where a university offers a full undergraduate medical program or operates a centre designated as a university institute in the social field. Therefore, only the integrated centre that meets this criterion can use the term "university" in its name.

University Hospital Centres and Institutes

In addition to the CISSS and CIUSSS, Quebec has seven non-merged establishments: four university hospital centers (CHU), two university institutes (IU) and one institute. These establishments report directly to the MSSS. They offer specialized and superspecialized services beyond the health region to which they belong.

Non-merged establishments :

Other network partners

Other actors work in partnership with the health network. For example, general practitioners and specialists in clinics, super-clinics and family medicine groups, community pharmacists, paramedical ambulance technicians, who provide pre-hospital emergency services, community organizations, social economy homecare enterprises, family caregivers, intermediate resources, family-type resources and private residences for seniors.

Many organizations, including the FMSQ and the Collège des médecins du Québec, represent, govern or supervise the various professionals in the network.