Daughter’s concerns about her father’s pharmacy services resolved

Authority Vancouver Island Health Authority

Debra complained that the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) was making her father and other seniors in the residential care facility he lived in purchase their medications through a particular pharmacy. She was also concerned that the pharmacy in question charged higher dispensing fees than others, made ongoing mistakes in its billings to her father and did not provide her with the receipts she needed to file reports on her father’s behalf.

We investigated whether VIHA was being fair in its handling of pharmacy services at the facility. We found out that under rules set by the BC College of Pharmacists, a pharmacist can only provide services to a resident of a residential care facility if the pharmacist has been appointed to do so by the facility’s operator, which in this case was VIHA. This was why residents had to purchase their medication through the designated pharmacy. We also looked into whether the pharmacy charged higher dispensing fees than others in the area. We determined this was not the case and Debra agreed, noting that other local pharmacies had increased their fees since she had first complained.

This still left Debra’s complaints about billing issues to resolve. We reviewed invoices that showed that the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) had previously paid the entire cost of one of her father’s prescriptions. Now, however, the pharmacy was billing the DVA for only part of the cost and Debra’s father for the rest. The DVA confirmed that Debra’s father was still eligible for full coverage.

The pharmacy agreed to credit Debra’s father for the part of the prescriptions he had paid in error and to bill the DVA the full amount in future. Both the pharmacy and the Director of Pharmacy Services at VIHA followed up directly with Debra to explain and apologize for their errors. They also confirmed that she would be provided with an official receipt for her father’s account every month. Debra received a cheque for $250, which reflected the amount her father had paid for his prescription in error.

Category Health, Seniors
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2010
Location Vancouver Island / Sunshine Coast