VPSA-funded project creating real change

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When VGH Experience in Care Leader Kimi Manhas worked as an RN, she looked after a patient who was not taking his medications because he could not afford them. That did not sit well with Ms. Manhas and she set out to make a difference. She collaborated with Drs. Ken Gin and Lynn Straatman on a VPSA-funded project addressing cost-related nonadherence (CRNA) to prescription medications. The project focused on Fair PharmaCare enrollment as one of the solutions to CRNA, with an emphasis on automation, access, and education.

With the VPSA funding, the group developed several resources that promote awareness of CRNA and the Fair PharmaCare program including brochures, posters, videos, an infographic, and a website. Staff at Fair Pharmacare made significant changes to its website based on feedback spearheaded by Ms. Manhas. The project team has made presentations across VCH, with a focus on Richmond and Coastal. Information about medication affordability is now available to the public on VCH’s website as well as to providers. The most recent update is that Ms. Manhas and Dr. Straatman met in late April with MP Dr. Hedy Fry to discuss medication affordability at the federal level.

“Dr. Fry is going to include links to the project and website in her regular mail updates to all her constituents,” said Dr. Straatman, “and she is going to ask all the Liberal and NDP MPs in Vancouver to do the same. Information about medication affordability should now reach every household in Vancouver. This will increase awareness of the issues and provide information on how to register for Fair Pharmacare as well as encouraging people to ask their health-care providers.”

“This was a grassroots initiative,” added Ms. Manhas. “To have taken my early experience as a nurse and received support from Ken, Lynn, and countless other people, has been humbling and empowering. Frontline staff members can be part of creating real change.

The work continues to evolve. The team is preparing research proposals to review the resources originally created as part of the VPSA CRNA project and to assess their impact on patients who are hospitalized and facing cost-related nonadherence. This will allow health-care providers to get the right resources to the people who need them most.

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