Quebec’s former health minister joins
MONTREAL – After
packing it in as health minister of Quebec earlier this year, Philippe
Couillard (pictured) has joined Persistence Capital Partners as a
partner. The company is said to be Canada's first private equity fund
that invests in healthcare as a business.
PCP made its first investment in March 2008, when it acquired the three
businesses of Medisys Health Group – a provider of health services to
over 4,000 corporations. It has offices in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary,
Vancouver, Ottawa and Quebec City. It’s a leading provider of diagnostic
imaging services in Ontario, and also provides medical information
services to the Canadian life insurance industry.
“Dr. Couillard’s experience, leadership and his expertise in the sector
make him an ideal candidate to help us fulfill PCP’s mandate across
Canada. We’re pleased and honored that he has accepted the challenge to
foster the development of healthcare businesses in partnership with the
public systems across Canada,” said Stuart M. Elman, Managing Partner of
“I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the growth
of Persistence Capital Partners – a fund which aims to improve the
overall efficiency of the system. We share the same values and goals for
healthcare in Canada – delivering high quality patient care while
meeting the evolving needs of users of the healthcare system,” said Dr.
Dr. Couillard graduated from Université de Montreal’s faculty of
medicine in 1979, and received his Royal College of Physicians and
Surgeons designation in neurosurgery in 1985. Dr. Couillard was the
chief of the department of Neurosurgery at St. Luc Hospital from
1989-1992, and co-founded and ran the department of Neurosurgery in
Dhahran in Saudi Arabia from 1992-1996.
On his return in Canada, he became a professor in the Faculty of
Medicine at the University of Sherbrooke and was both the director and
chief surgeon of the department of Surgery at the CHUS. Dr. Couillard
was elected to the Quebec National Assembly in 2003, and was appointed
Minister of Health and Social Services of Quebec - a post which he held
from 2003 to 2008, the longest serving health minister in Quebec since
Couillard, 51, told the Montreal Gazette that he sees no contradiction
in his shift to the private sector. “It’s perfectly in line with what
I’ve been advocating for years - a strong public system, well-funded and
well-organized, but with a mix of private thrown in to ‘complement’ the
existing system,” he said.
After five years as health minister, Couillard said he concluded that
the health system needs to become less of a monopoly.
During his tenure, Couillard had opened the door to the delivery of
private healthcare with the adoption of Bill 33, which sought to shrink
surgery wait times by allowing knee and hip surgeries in private
Sacré Coeur Hospital in north-end Montreal is now subcontracting such
surgeries at Rockland MD, a private clinic.
“In Canada and Quebec, it’s become almost a religious issue. If you
stray away from the orthodoxy of the system as it was conceived half a
century ago, you seem to be some kind of heretic,” he said. “The system
needs a little bit of competition, and people need to compare hospitals
with one another.”