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Small town advantage has big impacts for chemotherapy patient

When Lisa, a technician in our Pharmacy department discovered that a cancer patient at our hospital ...
...would pay out of pocket for their treatment she didn’t hesitate to step in and find a solution.  

Chemotherapy medications are expensive and can cost upward of $6,000 a month. These medications are typically covered by the Exceptional Access Program which is run through Ontario Health.

For two months a pharmacy that is independently owned in Shelburne had been providing medication out of pocket to a patient at our hospital in the expectation that they would be reimbursed by the Exceptional Access Program. When Lisa discovered that treatment was not going to be renewed as the patient no longer met the criteria, she took it upon herself to help.

“I called the Supervisor at Ontario Health – who was fantastic – and advocated on behalf of the patient. In the end they agreed to provide a three-month grace period that would allow the past two months of pharmacy costs to be covered,” recalled Lisa. 

Following the three-month grace period, the patient would need to see their Oncologist to determine next steps in their care.

Lisa could have let the pharmacy handle the matter directly but wanted to help them herself. After living and working in Orangeville for 14 years she knew the team in Shelburne well, sharing that, “When I call a pharmacy, we know each other by name. I know who is on the other end of the phone and we help each other”.

“Lisa is an incredible member of the team. She did all these actions on her day off. She could have just as easily done nothing and left in the hands of others but felt invested in caring for her partners in the community and the patient. We are lucky to have her as part of our team,” said Amrita, Pharmacy Manager.

Going above and beyond as Lisa did really resonated with the entire Pharmacy team and her colleagues in Oncology. While she shies away from praise, she did note that it felt good to have the Oncologist involved reach out to her directly and thank her for doing a great job.

“I love being part of this small community; you know everyone as you walk through the halls and around town. It is nice to be part of,” said Lisa.

Thank you, Lisa, for living our values of passion, kindness, teamwork, and courage.

Photo caption: Lisa in the Oncology Clinic.