Due to COVID-19, some patients may not be able to physically meet with their physicians, preventing them from signing Pharmacare forms. See the April 17, 2020 Pharmacare Newsletter.
Existing policy under Section 7.7 of the PharmaCare Policy Manual accommodates this situation, stating, “If an individual is unable to sign Section A of the Application for PharmaCare Plan G (HLTH 3497) but is willing and able to make a verbal declaration, the requestor (physician, nurse practitioner or staff member at a Mental Health and Substance Use Centre or a Child and Youth Mental Health Service Centre) may sign the form for the individual, with the indication that they witnessed a verbal declaration.”
A patient’s physician or nurse practitioner must certify that a patient meets the criteria for palliative care by completing and faxing in a BC Palliative Care Benefits Registration form (HLTH 349). Step 2, Option 2 of the registration form allows for the signature of a substitute decision maker, such as the practitioner, if the patient is unable or unavailable to sign Option 1.
As such, practitioners are permitted to sign on a patient’s behalf if they are unable to do so at this time; consultation in a telemedicine or otherwise remote fashion with a patient fits this definition. When signing, a practitioner should write “verbal declaration” in the patient signature section and sign their own name next to it.
Frequent Dispensing Authorization form
Due to the need to minimize in-person interactions during the COVID-19 crisis, the requirement for a patient signature on the Frequent Dispensing Authorization (HLTH 5378) form is temporarily suspended, effective April 17, 2020.
Pharmacists may indicate patients’ verbal assent on the form by writing “COVID” in the patient signature block.
Forms must be retained, and when feasible, patients should be asked to sign them. Alternately, pharmacists may contact the prescriber and request a new prescription with weekly or daily dispense indicated on the prescription.
If blister packs are dispensed, pharmacists are urged to consider providing longer supplies (e.g., four weeks as opposed to one) for patients to minimize interactions.
For more information on Pharmacare changes, please subscribe or view the Pharmacare Newsletters.