Thousands of patients on the West Island of Montreal risk losing their doctors if the agreement with a private clinic fails

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The West Island of Montreal could lose one of its private health care providers, a major development that could affect up to 300,000 patients per year.

That’s what’s expected unless Brunswick Group, one of the province’s largest private medical clinic groups, can finalize a deal to restructure its finances.

The Brunswick Group has several clinics in an establishment in Pointe-Claire, Quebec, including the Children’s Clinic.

The company employs 125 people and 115 doctors work in the clinics.

For now, these clinics remain open and have not reduced their services.

According to court documents obtained by Radio-Canada, the Brunswick Group filed for protection under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act in July 2023.

Ayman Chaaban, partner and trustee of the accounting firm Raymond Chabot Grant Thorton, says the Quebec Superior Court appointed him earlier this month to oversee the finances of the Brunswick Group under the Bankruptcy Act and the Act on insolvency.

“The Brunswick Group is insolvent,” read a report Chaaban sent to the court.

The document shows an accumulated deficit of $21 million. The Brunswick Group also owes more than $41 million to secured creditors and nearly $7 million to unsecured creditors.

According to Chaaban, the financial difficulties stem from losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic and a recent expansion project. The decision to build an additional tower for the Pointe-Claire clinic in 2019 caused the debt to rise to the amount of revenue, he said.

On top of that investment, the pandemic led to a reduction in the number of patients visiting the clinic, which reduced its profits, he said.

“They were already very indebted. They had to resort to additional loans to cover their losses,” Chaaban said.

Despite financial difficulties, Chaaban told CBC News that an agreement in principle with a buyer was reached last week. He said there are still some terms to negotiate and some final steps to take, but he hopes the deal will be completed before the end of February.

According to Radio-Canada, the ELNA Medical Group is in the running to acquire the medical activities of the Brunswick Group. “ELNA forms the largest network of medical clinics in Canada,” we can read on its website.

A person walks past a kiosk.
Earlier this week, another children’s clinic owned by the Brunswick Group closed its doors. It operated within the McGill University Health Center (MUHC). (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

The regional health authority, the CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, told Radio-Canada that it was “aware of the financial difficulties encountered by the clinic in question.”

“With this in mind, we are ready to adopt mitigation measures if necessary, in order to minimize any potential impact on the services offered to the population,” indicated the CIUSSS in a press release.

The Pointe-Claire Children’s Clinic is not the only pediatric service under the aegis of the Brunswick Group.

A separate children’s clinic based at the McGill University Health Center (MUHC) closed its doors on Friday.

On Thursday, parents were informed online that their children’s private clinic would close within 48 hours.

“We regret to inform you that due to the circumstances, the Children’s Clinic located at 5100 de Maisonneuve Ouest (Glen location) will be closed. We anticipate that the clinic’s last day of operations will be January 26, 2024,” read a press release. message on its website.

According to the clinic’s medical director, Harley Eisman, keeping the clinic open was no longer economically viable.

The clinic told CBC it has found new locations for most of the 50 doctors who practice there.

The clinic employed approximately 15 people.

The MUHC Children’s Clinic paid rent to the health center that owned the building. She told CBC she had no role in the closure and helped doctors who previously worked there find new places to practice.

Founded in 1995, the Brunswick Group is owned by seven shareholders, including five doctors.

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