April 2019: INR Monitoring/OHIP+ Updates

The Rural Pharmacist: INR Monitoring Now Available at Rosslyn Pharmacy

-Devon Myers, Pharmacist & Owner

Believe it or not there are many patients still using a medication called warfarin. Warfarin has been around for a long time and can be used for the prevention of blood clots. In recent years, however, several newer medications have begun to replace warfarin. From a patient’s perspective, there is certainly an appeal to these new medications as they do not require frequent blood monitoring. Sometimes one check-up per year will do. However, there is a subset of people where warfarin is actually preferred and that’s where Rosslyn IDA Pharmacy wants to help!

            Rosslyn IDA Pharmacy is equipped with a point-of-care testing device that is capable of accurately determining the INR for patients who use warfarin. Our pharmacists are trained to perform INR testing, to interpret results and to coordinate dosing schedules with providers. The only condition that we have is that providers allow the pharmacy team to monitor patients through what is called a medical directive. Several people have already transitioned to our INR monitoring program. We feel that providing this service for our rural patients will allow those on warfarin to get quick and accessible testing when needed. Frequent monitoring is paramount for those on warfarin in order to ensure that the medication is working properly!

            Changing gears, I’d like to touch upon the remodeling of  OHIP+. If you recall from our article last month the changes to OHIP+ will take place starting April 1st. OHIP+ was introduced in January 2018 to help cover the cost of medications for individuals 24 years of age and younger. Essentially, the Ontario government was covering the cost of medications for everyone under 25 even if they had private insurance. Beginning April 1st, however, the Ontario government will only be assisting patients who do not have private coverage. For those patients who carry private insurance the cost of medications will be paid by their insurance company. Unfortunately, not every insurance plan provides 100% coverage for the cost of medications. In this case, any remaining costs are the responsibility of the patient and/or care provider. In short, if a patient has private insurance then the Ontario government will not help cover drug costs. For private insurance holders we’re basically back to where we were prior to OHIP+ being rolled out. Now, there are certain circumstances where the Ontario government may provide assistance, such as for when patients have high medication costs relative to their income, so we recommend anyone with questions or concerns to call the pharmacy!

            Lastly, March was Pharmacist Awareness Month. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our patients who went out of their way to demonstrate their appreciation for our pharmacy team. Henry, Sandra and myself could not be happier to have the opportunity to serve your community. Rosslyn IDA Pharmacy, 100% locally owned and operated by home-grown pharmacists.