In response to COVID-19, registrants who work in the community have been asked to provide care by way of telephone or video technology, when appropriate, so that services involving direct physical contact with patients are reduced to a minimum. To help remove unintended barriers and mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19 to vulnerable populations, several temporary changes have been made to the Medical Assistance in Dying practice standard. Amendments to the standard are outlined below.
Practice standard amendments
Effectively immediately and for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency in British Columbia:
- The limit allowing only one practitioner to conduct a telemedicine assessment is temporarily rescinded. Both practitioners can conduct the assessment by telemedicine. Telemedicine assessments must meet the requirements set out in federal legislation as well as the standards and expectations that apply to in-person assessments.
- The requirement for a regulated health professional to act as a witness is temporarily rescinded. No witness is required for a telemedicine assessment if they are not reasonably available.
- The requirement of a physician not to delegate or assign the return of MAiD substances is temporarily rescinded. When there is no other reasonable option, the physician may ask another physician, nurse practitioner, licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, registered psychiatric nurse, or pharmacist to return the substances to the pharmacy. The physician must document the name of the person assigned to return the substances in the patient record.
Changes to medication coverage
As of March 20, 2020, medications dispensed for MAiD will be adjudicated in PharmaNet under Plan Z. This is not a temporary change due to COVID-19 but is expected to be in place indefinitely.
Questions regarding medication coverage can be directed to Health Insurance BC at 1-866-905-4912 extension 1.