Why Not Help Doctors with their Patient Waiting Queues?

Our recent healthcare policy, “Alleviating the Healthcare Crisis Through Positive Incentives”, delivered a way to get more “doctor hours” to help with the failing healthcare system. But it’s not the only option. There are more.

Pharmacist Bear

Another way to increase available doctor hours is to allow pharmacists to participate in that same insurance ticket system, described in “Alleviating the Healthcare Crisis Through Positive Incentives”, for medical services that they are capable of delivering, such as immunizations.

A recent article in HalifaxToday.ca pointed out the problem there with pharmacists not being covered for those same medical services that family doctors provide.

“But Bodnar explained that the real issue is that pharmacists are not included as part of the public system so for those patients who want to utilize these services, they will have to pay cash as it's not something covered by health care services in the province.”

Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia CEO Allison Bodnar has an excellent point.

Why not allow pharmacists to bill for these services in the same way that general practitioners do? Is it not our common goal to provide medical services to those who need them? Does it matter exactly “who” provides those services?

We don’t believe that it matters who provides the service as long as they’re competent to do so.

Including pharmacists in the healthcare system for procedures that they are qualified to administer, and that otherwise would be provided by a family doctor, would help alleviate the pressure on family doctors and shorten our lengthy wait queues. This is just common sense.

However, at a minimum, allowing pharmacists to bill through insurance tickets would be one tiny step towards our common goal of improving the health of Nova Scotians.

There can be multiple solutions to problems, and sometimes multiple solutions can complement each other.

So we ask you, can you think of any reasons why pharmacists should not be able to bill for those services, or why they shouldn’t be allowed to accept insurance tickets for payment?