Friday, January 28, 2011

Ottawa is asking pharmacists to serve refugees

Ottawa urged Thursday Québec pharmacists to continue providing free medicines essential to asylum seekers and other vulnerable foreign nationals who are not covered under Medicare provinces, even if they have difficulty to be reimbursed quickly.
In a statement, the Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney expressed concern that the pressure tactics of pharmacy owners are not only harming the health of vulnerable immigrants, but also that of the general population. Minister Kenney said he was ready to personally intervene to expedite the processing of claims from pharmacists.
"We are ready to collaborate with pharmacists to resolve individual cases and to continue our dialogue with the Association of Quebec pharmacy owners (AQPP), said the minister. However, in the meantime, we must ensure that refugees receive important drugs - including insulin and chemotherapy drugs, and treatments for sexually transmitted diseases or tuberculosis. "
The chances that the intervention of Minister to resolve the situation, however, seem slim. According AQPP, 1795 representing pharmacy owners in the province, Jason Kenney has indeed eloquently demonstrate that he understood nothing in the record.
According to the association, the minister speaks as if only the processing times were problematic. However, the whole system is to rethink, said Thursday the Director of Public Affairs, Vincent Forcier. Thus, at present, nobody knows exactly what medications are covered under the Interim Federal Health (IFH), and there is no process to handle more complex cases or exceptional.
This is to address these thorny issues that the organization wishes to conclude with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is a service agreement similar to ones already in place with other federal agencies including the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Canadian Armed Forces .
The AQPP repeat it never motivated pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions of vulnerable immigrants. It proposed instead their means to ensure continuity of care for these people, until ICC is committed to reaching an agreement.
Pharmacists can serve the patient, the drug charge him and give him a receipt, serve, issue an invoice and send it to CIC, or directing refugees to another health service tailored to its needs.
According to Mr. Forcier, these guidelines were followed by pharmacists, waiting to be reimbursed for many years. In some cases, the amounts due the several thousand dollars.
The association now believes that "the ball is in the court of CIC.
"It is they who have set up an insurance program for refugees, it is for them to take steps to provide these services to the population," stressed the spokesman.

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