By Greg Price
The Good Samaritan Society is centralizing pharmacy supports and services by going to a single provider, in Pharmacare out of Edmonton — much to the dismay of local pharmacists in how residents of the Good Samaritan Linden View assisted living facility will be cared for in their level of care.
According to Kim Campbell, senior director of operations of Good Samaritan Society, in a memo given to all site managers dated June 7, 2016, as part of the Accreditation Canada process the organization went through last September, it was advised the society move to a single pharmacy provider to reduce medication errors and to standardize services. The rationale being it will lead to more consistent monitoring, increase resident safety, and allow the organization to provide the highest quality of care and accommodations to those that call The Good Samaritan Society home.
It is logic that Carin Jensen, clinical pharmacist for Linden View and pharmacy manager at Taber Co-Op, finds baffling. The current contract for Linden View is out of the Taber Co-Op pharmacy, but will expire as of Dec. 1, 2016 and switch over to Pharmacare.
“Raymond, Cardston and Lethbridge have got notice as well,” said Jensen with their care facilities and requisite contracts with their local pharmacies. “The thing is we can actually go to the site, we can meet the patients, we already knew a lot of them. And now it’s not going to be done that way. They say they are doing this to standardize services across Alberta, my point with that one is we are not the same as a city, so that doesn’t work with all their sites. The care is going to decrease, that’s our biggest concern.”
Pharmacies that have been providing pharmacy services to Good Samaritan Society sites have been getting notice that their contracts have been terminated and have been given six months notice, where eventually all medications will be provided by the fulfillment centre for Pharmacare in Edmonton.
“The staff that are currently at Taber Co-Op Pharmacy have been providing services to the Linden View site since it opened. We have great concern for the welfare of our patients with this change and feel that the Good Samaritan Society should reconsider. We feel that we have been providing excellent care to the residents at Linden View and that the reasons for terminating our services do not constitute just cause,” noted correspondence Jensen has issued to Linden View residents and their families which outlined the following concerns for the decision:
Timeliness of medication delivery— Taber Co-Op are able to deliver daily, with changes made sometimes within a matter of an hour of receiving an order.
On-Site Clinical Care— Many hours have been spent on site at Linden View, evaluating therapy and getting to know each resident, families and the staff. Taber Co-Op has been able to attend almost all of the family care conferences held to review and, if possible, improve care. Taber Co-Op communicates regularly with the physicians about concerns that may arise regarding medications.
According to Jensen, Taber Co-Op have fulfilled all of the requirements set out in the contract with the Good Samaritan Society and all standards set by the government with respect to care home management.
“I am concerned, along with local doctors and home care who have their concerns also,” said Jensen.
Taber Co-Op is trying to arrange a meeting with Good Samaritan Society CEO Shawn Terlson, but have not yet received to reply to try and attempt to reverse the decision, according to Jensen. They are also contacting other sites that are affected by the decision to work together to reverse the decision and allow fair applications for clinical pharmacy services to be tendered.
Jensen is encouraging people to send their written concerns to the Taber Co-Op Pharmacy which the can then present to the Good Samaritan Society.
“We are going to fight this,” said Jensen. “Currently, medications are delivered daily with extra visits made by pharmacy staff when necessary. Changes are made in a timely manner, often in the same day. A clinical pharmacist spends at least eight hours a week, on site, monitoring medications and interacting with residents and families. A pharmacist is available, 24 hours a day, within 10 minutes from the site, for any emergency communications or needs of the residents. We do not want to see this level of service decline and have a negative impact on the residents of Linden View or other sites. Further, we do not believe that rural sites can be standardized with sites in urban centers.”
Written concerns can be given to the Co-Op pharmacy that will be forwarded, in person to the corporate offices of the Good Samaritan Society as well as Alberta Health Services which are both located in Edmonton.