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Information sessions on controversial Pharmacare decision

Posted on June 23, 2016 by Vauxhall Advance

By Greg Price
Vauxhall Advance
gprice@tabertimes.com

Carin Jensen, clinical pharmacist for Linden View and pharmacy manager at Taber Co-Op still thinks there are more questions than answers when it comes to the Good Samaritan Society’s decision to centralize pharmacy supports and services by going to a single provider in Pharmacare with its central offices in Edmonton.

For her, hopefully Vauxhall residents can get those questions answered at information sessions which run today at Linden View, which also provides service to Vauxhall-area seniors.

Good Samaritan Society will be holding four information sessions about the change which started yesterday and go again today at Linden View at 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.

According to a memo given by the Good Samaritan Society on June 7, as part of the Accreditation Canada process the organization went through last September, it was advised the society move to a single pharmacy provider to reduce medication errors and to standardize services.

The rationale being it will lead to more consistent monitoring, increase resident safety, and allow the organization to provide the highest quality of care and accommodations to those that call The Good Samaritan Society home.

The current contract for Linden View is out of the Taber Co-Op pharmacy, but will expire as of Dec. 1, 2016 and switch over to Pharmacare.

Jensen has been corresponding with the Good Samaritan Society and received a response to her concerns on June 16.

“I appreciate that they addressed my concerns, but I was not relieved by the answers,” said Jensen. “There are so many inconsistencies. They state that medications will be delivered from the Pharmacare site in Lethbridge. As of June 16, no such site was listed on the Pharmacare website or the Alberta College of Pharmacists website. I replied asking for the address, contact info, licence number and manager’s name of the site but received no response. I am concerned that this will not be a true pharmacy that patients and families are used to but will be just a room where medications are stored.”

Jensen is wondering out loud what type of financial benefit Good Samaritans Society is receiving as protocol was not followed in the way that previous pharmacy contracts were awarded.

“In the past, for any service provided for Good Samaritan Society, a request for proposal (RFP) was held. This RFP allowed any business, or in this case, pharmacy, to provide an application explaining how they would provide the service, how they could fill the requirements of GSS and how they would benefit the residents. I have been through that twice with Good Samaritan Society,” said Jensen.

“This time, for all of the sites, no RFP was held. The decision was done without tendering it out. They will have a request for proposal for accounting services, heating and air conditioning and many other services, including pharmacy providers, except for this time with the switch to Pharmacare.”

Jensen added she is seeking information on the Accreditation Canada process Good Samaritan Society claimed they went through last September.

“The reason for this change was sited as a recommendation in a debriefing from Accreditation Canada, after site audits, to improve standardization. No such debriefing can be provided to me when I have asked for it. Instead, I was told that the debriefing was done ‘verbally’,” said Jensen.

Lorraine Belanger was a development officer with the Town of Taber until November 2015, and was with the planning department in 2008 when Good Samaritans built Linden View, and listened to the organization’s presentation on wanting to be a caring member of the community.

Her mother was a resident of Linden View up until her death in the summer of 2015.

Upon hearing of the decision and being concerned, she has made inquiries into The Good Samaritan’s decision to unilaterally switch to Pharmacare and was invited to attend one of the information sessions this week.

But, unfortunately, Belanger lives out of town and will not be attending.

“Who you need to listen to is the current residents and families. Committed community partners need to do this, first not last, and quite frankly you have not done your organization or the residents any benefit in this manner of arbitrary implementation. One of the central themes of the current discussion is listening and caring in a hands-on and on-site manner. You have a population of individuals who need monitoring and adjustments to medications by a professional regularly. In both the human and financial sense this is the best option,” said Belanger in her response to the Good Samaritan Society, after being informed of the information sessions.

“My mom was a nurse’s aid for many years. These opinions are also expressions of her sentiments that were passed down to our family from observations from being a care worker long before she was a patient, and I sincerely hope you can consider the merits of such.”

Jensen encourages residents of Linden View, their families and Vauxhallites in general to attend one of the information sessions on the Good Samaritan Society’s decision to switch to Pharmacare.

“I still have major concerns with this change and I hope residents, family and the community will stand up to question the benefits to the residents of Linden View and other sites. Is this really in their best interest or is it to further the interests of the Good Samaritan Society?” said Jensen.

Good Samaritan Society has noted medications and services will be delivered from Pharmacare’s Supportive Living fulfillment pharmacy in Lethbridge.

Also that Pharmacare provides daily and emergency deliveries; all urgent orders will be delivered same day, no matter what time the order is placed. They go on to claim Pharmacare’s clinical pharmacists are on call 24/7, 365 days a year.

They currently service 12 similar rural communities in Alberta, with populations ranging from 1,000 to 20,000 residents.

Good Samaritan Society has promised Pharmacare’s clinical pharmacist will spend at least eight hours a week at the care home in Linden View, monitoring medication safety and effectiveness, working with physicians, other health professionals, and interacting with residents and their families.

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