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Health Services Committee Meeting Summary – Dec. 7/23

Universal Pharmacare Plan – A letter has been written supporting a Universal Pharmacare Plan and shared with the Health Services Committee, for distribution through New Mode. The letter has been presented at the ACER-CART Executive Meeting and has been referred to the Political Advocacy Committee. The President indicated that it has been placed on the PAC agenda for their meeting on Dec. 15/23. A discussion ensued about the timing of the release of the letter for distribution to our member organizations.

McMaster University – is seeking our continued support for the Dementia Prevention Internet-Based Intervention: Randomized Controlled Trial and Knowledge Translation study. We remain committed to our participation in programs that promote seniors’ Dental welfare and wellness.

Dental Plan – The committee has investigated the Dental Plan listed on the Service Canada Website. This plan has no provision for seniors. It only applies to children under the age of twelve (12). This is disappointing as it was one of the conditions of the Supply and Confidence Agreement between the NDP and the Liberals. Since our meeting the Government of Canada has announced a Dental Plan for Seniors aged 87 and above.

Universal Pharmacare letter – Once PAC meets on Dec 15/23 and approves the Universal Pharmacare letter, it will be forwarded to the Communications Committee for publication on the website and to those responsible for formatting for the New Mode software. The possibility of working cooperatively with the Seniors Advisory Council of Nova Scotia was discussed.

Distribution of our Pharmacare information beyond the website – Possible ideas for enhancing distribution of our Pharmacare information beyond the website. Some suggestions were to discuss the plan with any of our member organizations at every opportunity, to solicit the assistance of our member organizations, and to reach out to local like-minded organizations.

Express Scripts – is a company that adjudicates prescriptions at the pharmacy level. It acts as a mediator between the pharmacy and the insurance company. Express Scripts is usually hired by the Insurance company to act on its behalf. It now appears that Express Scripts is going to start charging pharmacies for this service. This is distressing because the associated cost being charged to the pharmacies will undoubtedly be passed on to the end consumer. Thus, meaning an increase in prescription cost or a circumstance where pharmacies will charge the patient for the full prescription cost. It will become the responsibility of the patient to submit claims for reimbursement to the insurance company directly. This last option will definitely impact our members, especially if the prescription is expensive.

Privatization – continues to be an area of great concern and seems to be encroaching on the public health plan in increasing disciplines. It was decided after a lengthy conversation that it will become a priority, but Universal Pharmacare remains our focus for the immediate future. The past president has written the Canadian Medical Association regarding this topic. Unfortunately, there has been no response from the CMA to our letter.