Volume 92, Issue 37

Tuesday, November 10, 1998

upholding integrity


USC reconsiders health plan

Dipesh Mistry/Gazette
IF ONLY WESTERN DIDN'T HAVE THOSE DARN NOSY DOCTORS. Some of the doctors, nurses and other staff at student health services went about business as usual yesterday after it was announced the student health plan would return to the old formulary.

By Dave Yasvinski

Gazette Staff

To clear up some of the confusion surrounding the recent changes to the student health plan, the University Students' Council has decided to return to Western's previous drug formulary.

The formulary Western uses was adopted from the Student Benefits Trust Administrators and is constantly modified by the SBTA to account for the introduction of new drugs. The most recent changes made to the formulary created uncertainty on campus as to which drugs would and would not be covered.

"On Thursday, I directed [the SBTA] to stop any consideration of the changes to the formulary, but not necessarily because they are ill-considered," said Jim Walden, general manager of the USC.

The proposed changes, which are no longer in effect, will be reviewed in early December when the directors of the campus trust, formed recently with Acadia and Memorial universities, will meet in Toronto with representatives from the SBTA and, hopefully, restore the changes, Walden said.

The meeting will give Western physicians the opportunity to discuss the proposed changes with SBTA pharmacologists and hopefully resolve some of the confusion surrounding the formulary, Walden added.

"We'll let [Western] doctors talk to the pharmacologists. I don't know how we can do any better than that."

Ian Armour, president of the USC, agreed this will be the ultimate level of consultation and they have invited Tom Macfarlane, director of health services, to the meeting. "Tom wants to be consulted, so we've invited him to come down. If he has problems with specific drugs I would invite him to direct his questions to the consultants," he said.

The entire situation got out of hand and although the proposed changes are no longer in effect, they will likely be added to the formulary eventually, Armour said. "I am extremely comfortable with the changes proposed but we're going to back up and take things slower."

Macfarlane said Armour advised him yesterday of the return to the old formulary. "At least this resolves some of the uncertainty and confusion," Macfarlane said. He added he is looking forward to attending the meeting with the SBTA.

"This is what we've been hoping for all along, the opportunity to provide input and advice from a different perspective," he said.

Macfarlane said he understands the drug formulary must change. "I'm not unhappy with change. I want to make sure everyone understands when it happens and why it happens and there has been a lot of confusion about that."

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Copyright The Gazette 1998