Patient Care and Safety at the Heart of New First Nations PharmaCare "Plan W" Program
Pharmacists across British Columbia will have an important role to play in improving the care and safety of their patients as First Nations Health Authority patients become BC PharmaCare beneficiaries on October 1, 2017.
For generations, the health benefits provided by the federal government for First Nations in BC have been administered by Health Canada through the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program. In 2006, the First Nations Leadership Council and the Government of British Columbia signed an agreement committing the province to extend all services enjoyed by British Columbians to First Nations in BC. In 2013, services previously delivered by Health Canada were now the responsibility of the newly-formed First Nations Health Authority. This transfer of responsibility was based on the recognition that First Nations in BC are best positioned to transform health services to meet their own health and wellness needs and goals.
Through a unique partnership with the BC Ministry of Health, PharmaCare, and with implementation support from the BC Pharmacy Association, First Nations Health Authority created “Plan W” (Wellness). This signals the beginning of the end of the federal government’s control of prescription drug coverage. Plan W is a fully paid plan and will be the first payer of eligible drug benefits prescribed to the First Nations Health Authority’s 143,000 patients.
For the vast majority of First Nations Health Authority patients prescription drug coverage will remain the same. Most existing therapies will be transitioned to PharmaCare through special “grandparenting” arrangements. A small number of medications will continue to be provided through the NIHB program until the full transition from the federal system is complete.
The few patients who will require adjustments to their existing drug therapies due to formulary differences are being encouraged to consult with their pharmacists and prescribers to actively review, and possibly improve, their existing therapies.
The benefits of moving to PharmaCare are many. Accessing health-care benefits from the same provincial systems as other British Columbians will mean more seamless access to services and benefits. Pharmacists and prescribers alike are already more familiar with PharmaCare, so there will be improved alignment with existing provincial practices and standards. This change is an opportunity for First Nations in BC to build stronger relationships with all partners in BC’s health-care system. Health outcomes and patient safety are improved when people are fully engaged in their own health care journeys.
Updates on Plan W will be provided as the transition rolls out. Visit the First Nations Health Authority’s web page for health-care providers and review PharmaCare’s newsletters for more information. You can also follow updates from the First Nations Health Authority through Twitter and Facebook.
A recording of the New PharmaCare Plan W Program webinar hosted by the First Nations Health Authority and BC Pharmacy Association is also available online.
To learn more about the College’s commitment to cultural safety and humility for First Nations and Aboriginal People at bcpharmacists.org/humility.
CULTURAL SAFETY AND HUMILITY READLINKS SERIES
Learn about the culture and experiences of First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples in BC, the importance of acknowledging racism in healthcare, and the role of cultural humility and safety in providing care in this Cultural Safety and Humility ReadLinks Series.