Minutes of the 24th meeting of the Board of Directors of Héma-Québec
Held at the Hôtel Radisson Gouverneur, 690 René-Lévesque Blvd. East, Québec City on Wednesday, October 4, 2000 at 2:00 p.m. (translation)
Mr. Claude Pichette
Mr. Raymond April
Dr. Louis R. Dufresne
Mr. Robert Bédard
Dr. Réjean Paradis
Dr. Francine Décary
Dr. André Lebrun
Dr. Yves St-Pierre
Ms. Sheila Comerford
Dr. Jean Montreuil
Ms. Cheryl Campbell Steer
Ms. Diane Roy (Observer, Chair of Hemovigilance Committee)
Dr Denis Cournoyer
Mr. Guy Lafreni¾re
Senior Director, Finance and Administration, Héma-Québec
Ms. Suzie Deschamps
Director, Financial Resources, Héma-Québec
Me Smaranda Ghibu
Senior Director, Legal Affairs, Héma-Québec
Mr. Gonzalo Nu¯ez
Legal Affairs, Héma-Québec
1. Opening of Meeting
Claude Pichette chaired the meeting and welcomed the members. Quorum was established, and the meeting began at 2:05 p.m.
2. Adoption of Agenda
The agenda was read.
It was proposed, duly seconded and unanimously resolved that the agenda be adopted, with the following additions under "Miscellaneous":
10.2 Chair of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Blood Services
10.3. Plaque given to Dr. O'Donnell Bédard
10.4. Hemovigilance Committee public forum
10.5. Public meeting: preparations
3. Adoption of the Minutes of the Twenty-third Meeting, held on September 6, 2000
It was proposed, duly seconded and unanimously resolved that the minutes of the twenty-third meeting of the Board of Directors, held on September 6, 2000, be adopted as submitted.
4. Business Arising from the Minutes of the Twenty-third Meeting
4.1. 2000-2001 Budget: Follow-up to Meeting of September 7
The matter of fees charged to hospitals for blood products is progressing. The Senior Director, Finance and Administration, met with the Secrétariat du Sang et Approvisionnement Montréal on September 7, 2000. The Executive Director also discussed the matter with the deputy minister for public health. The discussion basically concerned the principles and calculations used to determine the fees charged to hospitals for labile products as well as the mechanisms for quickly implementing measures to ensure the safety of blood products.
The Senior Director, Finance and Administration, will report to the Board on progress concerning this matter at the next Board meeting.
(Action: GL )
4.2. Date of the Next Joint Meeting of the Boards of Héma-Québec and Canadian Blood Services
After discussion, it was agreed that the next joint meeting of the boards of Héma-Québec and Canadian Blood Services will be held in Québec City, on May 2, 2001. The Board meeting scheduled to be held in Québec City in April will be held in Montréal. The Executive Director will submit this proposal to the chief executive officer of Canadian Blood Services (CBS).
4.3. Hemolink and the National Advisory Committee on Transfusion Medicine
On September 21, 2000, at the request of the Board, the Executive Director sent a letter to the Chair of the National Advisory Committee on Transfusion Medicine (NACTM) asking the committee to discuss the possible licencing of Hemolink, a product that could be used as a blood substitute for certain operations. To date, Héma-Québec has received no response. However, there are indications that this matter will be discussed soon at a meeting of the NACTM.
The role of Héma-Québec in the marketing of new blood products or substitutes was discussed. Several suggestions were made. It was agreed that the Safety Advisory Committee and the Scientific and Medical Advisory Committee will be asked to examine the role that Héma-Québec could be asked to play in this process and submit recommendations to the Board.
4.4. Follow-up on Federal Research Subsidies
The members discussed the matter of funds paid by the federal government to CBS for research in the field of blood. During a meeting of the CBS research directors and the Executive Director of Héma-Québec, in Halifax, it was revealed that the subsidies granted to CBS were paid under a "Memorandum of Understanding" signed by CBS and the Federal government when CBS was created.
It was agreed that this was a matter of federal-provincial relations and did not fall under the jurisdiction of Héma-Québec and CBS. The Board of Directors approved this position.
4.5. Follow-up - Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease in France
The Board discussed an article published on September 16, 2000 in The Lancet (The Lancet, Vol. 356, September 16, 2000, page 999) entitled "Transmission of BSE by blood transfusion in sheep." The article concerned a study that indicates, using an animal model (sheep), that it is possible that BSE could be transmitted through blood.
Moreover, the Executive Director distributed a journal article concerning a report produced by the British board of inquiry investigating the responsibility of British public authorities with respect to the propagation of mad cow disease in the United Kingdom.
The donor representative pointed out that certain donors, as well as certain recipients, are concerned with the hypothesis that vCJD is transmitted through blood. Several donors have questions with respect to their eligibility following the adoption of various exclusion criteria concerning vCJD. Public Affairs was asked to develop a communication plan to inform donors about the exclusion criteria in order to prevent self-exclusion.
(Action: FD, J.F.L.)
5. Liaison Committee: Meeting of September 16
The Executive Director reported to the Board on the meeting of the Liaison Committee held on September 16, 2000. The members discussed, among other things, the Committee's relations with the CBS Consumer Advisory Group and the brief to be submitted to the Hemovigilance Committee Forum. The Senior Director, Medical Affairs, Microbiology, and Epidemology, gave a presentation on the presence of and methods for detecting viruses and bacteria in blood. Moreover, the Committee studied the case of a man who wanted to make a blood donation under a female name and recommended that this matter be considered an isolated case and that the donor be sent a letter to this effect. The Board of Directors approved this approach.
6. Budget Follow-up
The Senior Director, Finance and Administration, submitted the budget report as of August 31, 2000. He indicated that the organization continued to run over budget again in August, primarily with respect to operations.
The members discussed the measures included in the recovery plan submitted to the September 2000 Board meeting. Despite the fact that these measures were implemented as of mid-September, their concrete effects will only be felt in mid-October. Following the implementation of the recovery plan, the organization should be able to balance its budget over the coming quarters.
Moreover, the Senior Director, Finance and Administration, presented the terms of an offer for financing Héma-Québec fixed assets submitted by the Royal Bank on September 26, 2000.
After discussion, it was proposed, duly seconded and unanimously resolved that the "Fixed Asset Financing" resolution, a copy of which is attached hereto, be adopted.
7. Election of Chair
Under Paragraph 3 of Article 15 of the General By-laws of Héma-Québec, the maximum term of the Chair and Vice-President is two (2) years from their election. Since the mandate of the current chairperson started on October 7, 1998, the members of the Board must designate another Chair from among themselves. The Secretary invited the members to apply for this position or propose the name of another member who could be appointed to this position.
As proposed by Dr. Louis R. Dufresne and seconded by Dr. Yves Saint-Pierre, Mr. Claude Pichette was unanimously re-elected as the Chair of Héma-Québec's Board of Directors. His new mandate will be for one year, namely until the end of his 36-month mandate as director.
The members congratulated Mr. Pichette on his re-election as Chair.
8. Quarterly and Annual Claims Report
The Senior Director, Legal Affairs, submitted the annual report for claims, for the period from September 28, 1999 to September 27, 2000, and answered questions of the members.
9. Project Follow-up
The Executive Director followed up on the implementation of various projects and answered questions from the members.
10.1. Statements made by André Arthur on September 13, 2000
As part of the provincial program to detect Hepatitis C in people who received blood transfusions between 1960 and 1990, a radio announcer in the Québec City region, Mr. André Arthur, apparently encouraged people who have received transfusions to get their blood tested at a blood donor clinic since Héma-Québec would do the Hepatitis C test much faster than the health system. The members discussed this situation and deplored Mr. Arthur's suggestion. However, considering the nature of the radio show, it was agreed that no response would be made to Mr. Arthur. The Board members asked that supervision be increased in order to determine the number of transfusion recipients who turn up as blood donors, and Hepatitis C seroprevalence.
10.2. Chair of Canadian Blood Services
The Executive Director informed the members that the Chair of Canada Blood Services, Mr. Ken Fyke, has announced his resignation from that position effective November 1, 2000. He stated that he was no longer able to devote the time required by CBS because of his recent appointment to head the Commission on Medicare for the Province of Saskatchewan.
10.3. Plaque given to Dr. O'Donnell Bédard
The Chair of the Board of Directors presented a commemorative plaque to Dr. O'Donnell Bédard for his contribution to the work of the Board, as the representative of physicians specialized in transfusion medecine from September 30, 1998 to June 28, 2000. The members congratulated Dr. Bédard.
10.4. Public Forum of the Hemovigilance Committee
The Chair of the Hemovigilance Committee reiterated her invitation to the board members to attend a public forum on transfusion consent. The event will take place on October 13, 2000, in Montréal.
10.5. Public Meeting: Preparations
The Executive Director presented the program and explained the procedure for the public meeting to take place later during the evening. The members submitted their recommendations with respect to a presentation on Héma-Québec's new method of financing. The principal files were reviewed. Finally, the members approved the content of the presentations.
11. Next meeting
The next meeting is scheduled for November 1, 2000, at 2:00 p.m., and will be held at 4045, Cte-Vertu Boulevard, Saint-Laurent, in the Boardroom.
Mr. Claude Pichette
Dr. Francine Décary
RESOLUTION TO BE INCORPORATED INTO THE MINUTES OF THE HÉMA-QUÉBEC BOARD MEETING OF OCTOBER 4, 2000
"Fixed Asset Financing"
WHEREAS on September 24, 1998, the provisional Board of Directors approved expenditures of $33,784,675 for the acquisition of fixed assets during the period from September 28, 1998 to March 31, 2001. This amount does not include the construction of laboratories at 4045 Cte-Vertu Boulevard, Saint-Laurent;
WHEREAS the sum spent on fixed assets for the period from September 28, 1998 to August 31, 2000 was $31,156,013;
WHEREAS the Board of Directors approved financing from the Royal Bank of Canada for a total of $24,534,135, namely $18,448,835 to acquire the assets of the Red Cross on September 24, 1998, and $6,085,300 for assets needed to start operations on June 9, 1999;
WHEREAS the balance of the fixed asset acquisitions remaining to be financed total $6,621,878 for the period from September 28, 1998 to August 31, 2000;
WHEREAS on September 26, 2000, the Royal Bank of Canada made additional amounts available to Héma-Québec to finance fixed assets, namely an interim loan of $2,000,000 (class 7 for the financing of fixed assets with conversion to a term loan on a semi-annual basis), with a rotating term loan of $11,000,000 (class 8 for fixed asset financing which should include the remaining balances of the previous loans for $6,085,300, for which the balance as at August 31 was $5,212,717), with both loans not to exceed $12,000,000 at any time;
IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED:
THAT LOANS BE TAKEN OUT FOR up to $12,000,000 to finance fixed assets, namely an interim loan of $2,000,000 (class 7 to finance fixed assets with conversion to a term loan on a semi-annual basis) and a term loan of $11,000,000 (class 8 to finance fixed assets, 5-year term), with both loans not to exceed a maximum of $12,000,000 at the same time, under the financing offer submitted by the Royal Bank of Canada on September 26, 2000;
THAT the Executive Director and the Senior Director, Finance and Administration, be and are hereby authorized to sign the loans indicated above with any modifications that may be made, at their sole convenience, and to sign any other document and take any other action that they deem necessary or desirable, at their sole discretion, to give effect to this resolution and to the conditions and commitments agreed to for the loans, and that the signing of the loans and any such document by the Executive Director and the Senior Director, Finance and Administration, shall constitute irrevocable proof of Héma-Québec's consent to their signing.