Pharmacists' submission to Budget 2014 consultation seeks improvements to immunizations funding

VANCOUVER, Oct. 21, 2013 /CNW/ - British Columbia's approach to managing spending on immunizations must be changed to allow government to better manage costs, according to recommendations offered by the BC Pharmacy Association (BCPhA) in its submission to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services Budget 2014 Consultations.

A new approach would see immunization-related spending assigned to one area of the health care budget. Currently this spending is managed in different silos based on health providers, with funding divided among health authorities, pharmacists, physicians, pediatricians, licensed practical nurses and other providers. The BCPhA believes eliminating these silos would allow government to better track immunizations administered by each provider in relation to cost, and reduce spending by directing patients to health providers with the highest immunization rates and lowest cost.

"Breaking the funding silos for services like immunizations is one way government can immediately accomplish its goal of providing British Columbians with alternative service delivery models that offer better programs at less cost," said Geraldine Vance, CEO of the BCPhA. "As the lowest cost provider of immunizations, pharmacists believe integrating funding for this service will enable the Province to manage spending more effectively, which will ultimately benefit patients."

With flu season just around the corner, improving patient access to immunizations and managing costs is an important consideration for the BC government. During the 2012-13 flu season, BC pharmacists delivered around 200,000 publicly funded immunizations and are expected to provide even more flu vaccines this year.

The BCPhA's submission to the provincial Budget 2014 consultation also calls on the BC government to invest in pharmacy based care to manage drug costs, sustain rural pharmacy services, broaden pharmacy based care to achieve cost avoidance and improve health outcomes, and invest in primary care.

The submission is available at www.bcpharmacy.ca/submission-budget2014-public

The British Columbia Pharmacy Association is a not-for-profit professional association that represents almost 2,800 pharmacists and more than 800 pharmacies throughout British Columbia.

SOURCE: British Columbia Pharmacy Association

For further information:

Elise Riedlinger, Manager, Communications / 604.269.2866 / elise.riedlinger@bcpharmacy.ca

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