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New executive director at CHUM hired from France

MONTREAL – The Centre hospitalier de l’université de Montréal has recruited a top hospital administrator from France to serve as its executive director. Christian Paire has been hired with a four-year contract, and will start in November.

Speaking in Montreal about the controversial plan to build the new $2.5 billion CHUM super-hospital as a public-private partnership, Paire expressed some reservations. .

While saying he is not “ideologically bound” either to the PPP option or the “classic model” of having the government build hospitals, he said that, “In France, we tested out the PPP formula on (hospital) operations that were smaller than the one that’s being planned here,” he said. “For me, the first observation I can make is it’s always interesting to start out with something that’s perhaps less ambitious.”

Paire also expressed concern about the rigidity of some PPPs when it comes to accommodating new medical technology. “Technology evolves very quickly,” he said. “We have to have a maximum of flexibility.”

In 1980, at age 31, Paire was appointed executive director of a pediatric hospital in Paris. Since 2002, he had served as executive director of the CHU-Hôpitaux de Rouen, in charge of 8,000 employees and an annual budget of 550 million euros.

Paire replaces Denis Roy as the CHUM’s top administrator. In June 2008, Roy lost his job amid concerns over the quality of management and his failure to secure $112 million in funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation for research activities.

Paire said he sees parallels between the debate surrounding the future CHUM and the frustration over delays in building the Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou in Paris. The French hospital was finally erected in 2000 after much discussion about its location, as has been the case with the future home of the CHUM.

But Paire insisted that Montrealers move ahead with the CHUM project. As for his concerns about PPPs, he said he will make his opinions known once he learns more about the project.

Posted October 22, 2009