1. Questions on the cooperative
1.1. What is a cooperative ?
A cooperative is a group of people or companies that have either common economic, social or cultural needs and become associated to meet those needs by managing a business under the rules of cooperative action.
1.2. What is a health cooperative ?
It is a medical clinic that is administered by the members of the Coop. More than 40 health cooperatives are in operation or development in Quebec.
Citizens and health professionals are members of the cooperative clinic. Together they define and manage the services and investments of the clinic according to their needs. This democratic process insures alignment between the local needs and the services offered.
The cooperative assumes the administrative tasks leaving the doctors to concentrate on their medical practice. This creates a better quality of life for the doctors and supports the retention and recruitment of doctors.
The doctors continue to be paid by the Government (RAMQ). The health coop does not seek to replace the Government but does enable the community to take charge.
1.3. Why have a health cooperative in the Basse-Lièvre ?
The cooperative prevented the closure of the Buckingham Health Clinic. It became the owner of the clinic and now oversees its management. The Coop is the solution to prevail for the absence of successors for the previous owners who will, one day, retire from their medical practice.
The shortage of doctors continues to worsen year after year and has caused a significant increase in the number of people without a family doctor. The Coop will work towards recruiting new doctors by offering an efficient workplace. It assumes the administration of the clinic to enable doctors to concentrate on patients rather than manage a business.
1.4. Where would any eventual profits from the Coop be invested ?
With no financial returns to the members, a Coop emulates a non-profit organisation.
Any benefits would be used to improve the health services and could eventually reduce or eliminate the annual fees for the members. They could also be used to purchase equipment that would be owned by the Coop.
1.5. Are the doctors paid by the Coop ?
No. Similar to other jurisdictions, the doctors are paid by the Government (RAMQ). However, the doctors pay a rental fee to the Coop.
2. Membership questions
2.1. Must I have a family doctor or a medical file at the clinic to be a member ?
No, you don’t need to have a doctor or a file at the clinic to become a member.
2.2. Why become a member of the Coop ?
The membership goal of the Coop is to have 2,000 or more members, to help guarantee its expansion.
Being a member is to participate in a collective initiative to take charge and avoid the closure of the Buckingham Health Clinic. You will be contributing to conserve and improve the access to basic health care services.
You can be involved in your cooperative as a volunteer, a participant in general meetings or as a member of the Board of Directors. Your involvement in this project will contribute to the development of the Coop and to improve the health care services in the Basse-Lièvre region.
The Board of Directors will determine other advantages for the members, ensuring the rules of Universality of Care (to offer basic health care at no cost to members and non-members) are respected.
2.3. What are the advantages for a member who must pay an annual fee ?
In addition to help conserving and improving the access to health services and to recruit new doctors, members will benefit from advantages such as free or lower cost services that are not covered by the Government (RAMQ). These advantages will soon be determined by the Board of Directors.
2.4. Can non-members come to the clinic of the Coop ?
Yes, the Coop offers its services to all residents, members and non-members of the cooperative. However, members will benefit from certain advantages which respect the universal access to basic health services.
2.5. Will I keep the family doctor that I presently have ?
Yes, nothing will change. You may continue to see your doctor as before.
The Coop does not get involved in the doctor/ patient relationship.
2.6. If I become a member, will this give me a family doctor at the clinic ?
If you don’t already have a family doctor, your membership will not automatically provide one.
Nevertheless, the recruitment of new doctors by the Coop will increase the access to family doctors in addition to offering a better access to walk-in visits.
By becoming a member, the Coop is viable and it will insure that your doctor will have a place to continue to serve you.
2.7. If I already have a doctor, why should I become a member of the Coop ?
By avoiding the closure of the Clinic, the Coop maintains the Buckingham Health Clinic operating and will insure its development.
Recruiting new doctors will increase the access to walk-in visits.
Adding new doctors will provide replacements for the doctors who will retire
3. How to become a member
3.1. Who can become a member ?
Any person can become a member.
Children who are younger than 18 years old as well as full-time students who are younger than 25 years old but living with a member, have the same advantages as a member at no cost.
3.2. What is the cost of becoming a member ?
To become a member, you must:
Should you wish to leave the Coop, a full refund on the value of the shares will be reimbursed in accordance with the Cooperative Law and the rules of the Coop.
The annual fees will be determined by the Board of Directors according to the needs of the cooperative and the number of members.
3.3. How can I become a member ?
Fill out and return your membership application form to the Coop Santé de la Basse-Lièvre with your $50 cheque for your five (5) qualifying shares.
The annual fee will only be required once the Board of Directors has determined its necessity.
Membership application forms are available at the Coop Santé de la Basse-Lièvre. You can also print a form on the ‘’Becoming a member’’ section of the Coop website.
3.4. What will happen to my share if I leave the Coop ?
You can be fully reimbursed for the value of your five (5) qualifying shares by making a written request to the Coop. However, the annual fee is non-refundable.