Palliative Care Drug Access Program

Manitoba Health’s Palliative Care Drug Access Program respects the dignity of people in the final stages of life by supporting their decision to choose where they would prefer to spend their final days.
Individuals who choose a hospital or personal care home for the final days have their drug costs covered by the health care system. Manitoba Health has set up a program so that the same drug coverage will now apply to patients who choose to die at home or in another residence.
This program is designed for people at the end stages of their illness, when the focus of care is on comfort. By covering the costs of these eligible drugs for use in the home, a major financial burden is removed for the patient and their family.

What does the program cover?
The Palliative Care Drug Access Program provides deductible-free coverage through Manitoba Health. Once the application has been processed through Manitoba Health the costs of all eligible drugs prescribed by a physician will be covered. When filling prescriptions at a pharmacy of ones own choice, individuals enrolled in the program will no longer be charged for their prescribed medication.

Who is eligible?
The program is open to residents of Manitoba, with a current Manitoba Health registration number. The patient and physician must agree on palliative care, dealing with an advanced stage of a terminal illness.

Enrollment in the program
When a physician makes a palliative diagnosis, an application form must be completed and signed by both the patient(or guardian) and a physician. The physician will then send the completed application form to the palliative care program leader in the local regional health authority. If the patient is eligible for coverage, the form will be forwarded to Manitoba Health for final approval and registration.
Application forms are available to physicians through the local palliative care coordinator or from the palliative care program leader at the regional health authority. The patient or guardian will receive notification regarding acceptance into the program from their physician.
If a patient does not meet the criteria for the program the physician may request a review of the application. A Palliative Care Drug Access Program Advisory Committee consisting of palliative care physicians and practitioners is in place to review these requests and make recommendations to Manitoba Health.

Obtaining Prescriptions
Patients accepted into the program will be registered with the palliative care Drug Access Program and can get their eligible prescription drugs at no charge at the pharmacy of their choice.

How long will coverage continue?
Once the application is approved by Manitoba Health, the patient will be advised that they are eligible for coverage for their eligible prescribed medication. Coverage will continue as long as it is required by the patient.

What is not covered?
– drug expenses incurred before the patient is registered in the program
– nutritional supplements
– any supplies required that are available through other health services such as the Home Care Program
– medications for palliative patients who are publicly funded
– medications for palliative patients who are in publicly funded facilities such as acute-care hospitals, long term care facilities and psychiatric hospitals.

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