Quebec refuses to pay for treatment at $ 50 per session

A guardian angel with the long form of COVID-19 who wants to get back to work quickly must fight the authorities to be reimbursed for a promising treatment that speeds up his recovery.

“I am a worker in the health care network, I caught COVID at work. Kinesiology treatments are the only ones that will allow me to return to help my patients, ”says Annick Hupperetz breathlessly.

She prefers to keep the title of her job “to protect her very understanding employer,” she said.

The resident of Sainte-Thérèse, on the North Shore, contracted the virus in April. After two weeks of convalescence and a negative test, she returned to work.

But the symptoms have really never stopped since.

Tired, short of breath and constantly ill, Mme Hupperetz was finally placed on sick leave in July.

“We are in the middle of the second wave, I need to go back to work,” continues the 56-year-old woman, between two coughing fits.

After a battery of tests, her cardiologist and her pulmonologist concluded that she has the long form of COVID-19, she says.

The only possible treatment to speed up his recovery, according to experts consulted by The newspaper, would be cardiorespiratory reconditioning in kinesiology.


Despite his repeated requests and those of his kinesiologist, the Committee on Standards, Equity, Health and Safety at Work (CNESST) refuses to reimburse treatments at a cost of $ 50 per session.

Mme Hupperetz considers this decision “illogical”.

“The CNESST pays my salary, but refuses to pay for my treatments so that I return to work more quickly. There is nothing to understand, ”she laments.

The long form of COVID-19 is “little known and treated with contempt”, warns Dr Paul Poirier, cardiologist and researcher at the Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec.

“If it is a prescribed treatment that demonstrates its effectiveness, it should be reimbursed, full stop,” he says.

“I have residual cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, tachycardia, chest pain, a problem with my right kidney, explains Mme Hupperetz. My hair is falling out in a handful. If this continues, I will have no more hair. “

Complex case

A month ago, at the Montreal Heart Institute, he was prescribed four training sessions per week “of 30 minutes on specialized exercise equipment,” says Marie-Andrée Dion Filteau, kinesiologist and owner of the Health System clinic.

“Annick’s case is very complex,” she explains. Tests show that she has no heart limitation, but when you put her in the effort, there are abnormal symptoms. During the first treatment, she was very dizzy and vomited. She didn’t even walk half a mile. “

After ten sessions, she sees a marked improvement in her cardio-respiratory capacity.


This discipline uses physical activity for the treatment of health problems. Patients should follow a series of supervised and targeted exercises.

The kinesiologist can treat the muscles of a displaced pelvis after a fall on a ski as well as restore the cardiovascular functions of a person after a heart attack.

Source: Federation of Kinesiologists of Quebec

A promising approach is rejected by the state

Kinesiology treatments are so promising for curing people with the long form of COVID-19 that they should be favored in a post-pandemic Quebec, according to consulted experts.

“Based on the experience of SARS, we know that the long forms have been terrible from the point of view of disability. We must prepare for hundreds and hundreds of cases of COVID to clog the system, ”warns Martin Juneau, cardiologist and director of prevention at the Montreal Heart Institute.


It would even be the “best treatment to speed up the return to work of people with long-term effects of COVID-19”, according to Pierre Boulay, professor of physical activity sciences at the University of Sherbrooke.

After nine cardiorespiratory reconditioning sessions in kinesiology, Annick Hupperetz, a healthcare worker who has been showing symptoms of the virus for five months, is already seeing improvement.

Shortness of breath and tachycardia have decreased, observed her kinesiologist, Marie-Andrée Dion Filteau.

But neither the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec nor the CNESST reimburse this care.

Reimbursed elsewhere

“Quebec is one of the few places in the West that does not pay for cardiac rehabilitation,” explains Dr.r Juneau, who has been fighting for this cause for 35 years. […] Even in the United States, it is paid. “

His report on the subject, commissioned by the Ministry of Health, has been dragging on a shelf … since 2009.

These treatments, widespread since the 1980s, are proven in people with cardiovascular sequelae, according to the cardiologist.

“It decreases the number of hospitalizations and speeds up the return to work. ”

Cardiac rehabilitation in kinesiology could thus reduce the financial burden on employers and the post-COVID health system.

“Bypass surgery costs the state $ 20,000. A program like that costs $ 700 or $ 800. When you decide to invest hundreds of millions in cardiology, the least thing is to ensure that there is a follow-up ”, argues the Dr Juneau.

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