N.B. signs controversial contracts with Medavie

A controversial plan to transfer management of New Brunswick's extra-mural and Tele-Care 811 programs to a private company is now official.

Bruce Macfarlane, a spokesperson for the provincial government, confirmed in an email Sunday that the contracts with Medavie Health Services have been signed.

Macfarlane said the contracts will be made public once the Office of the Integrity Commissioner has had a chance to review them and make any comments.

"The Department of Health has sent the contracts to the Office of the Integrity Commissioner who has the oversight role for the Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Personal Health Information Privacy and Access Act," said Macfarlane in a statement.

The provincial government announced deal with Medavie, which already operates the province's ambulance service Ambulance New Brunswick, in September.

Then-health minister Victor Boudreau said the deal will lead to better coordination and collaboration among health-care providers through a team approach.

But the takeover has received plenty of opposition from seniors groups, health-care workers, the province's official languages commissioner, and even the Vitalité Health Network.

Other groups have expressed their support for the plan, including the New Brunswick Medical Society, which said the change is "worth trying."

In a statement to CTV Atlantic, Medavie Health Services said extra-mural patients can expect to see "the same quality service they've always received."

— with files from CTV Atlantic