Provincial Prescription Renewal Support Service

Last updated: July 12, 2023

On this page: Eligible patients | Ineligible patients | What PPRSS does | Contacts | Reference Script Resources

Community pharmacists can reach out to the Provincial Prescription Renewal Support Service (PPRSS) to request prescription renewal(s) for eligible B.C. residents who do not have a primary care provider.

Pharmacists contact PPRSS by submitting a PPRSS eForm. The PPRSS team contacts the patient or their caregiver by telephone.  

PPRSS hours of service are 9 am to 6 pm, 7 days a week. PPRSS launched in January 2023.

Eligibility for PPRSS

Unattached patients (those without a primary care provider) who are B.C. residents may be eligible for referral if one of the following is true:

  • The prescription is not expired (less than 2 years old), but the prescriber's licence is inactive (temporarily or permanently)
  • The prescription is expired (2 or more years old)

If the prescription is valid (not expired), the community pharmacist may still refer if:

  • They are unsure whether the patient is stable for renewal/adaptation and would like a physician’s opinion
    • Patients deemed not stable for renewal or adaptation should be sent directly to a primary care (walk-in) clinic of the patient's choosing, Urgent and Primary Care Centre (UPCC) or emergency department, as appropriate
  • They believe the patient needs a laboratory test(s) to inform a safe prescription renewal

The pharmacist is encouraged to provide a 10- to 14-day emergency supply of medication to eligible patients to support continuity of care.

Ensure patient is unattached

Pharmacists can verify attachment status by viewing CareConnect as well as asking the patient or caregiver. Pharmacists may refer to PPRSS if they believe the patient is unattached. 

Verify patient contact information

  • Verify the patient’s phone number and enter it correctly on the eForm
  • Determine the best time to call patient, and enter under “Preferred Contact Times”

Not eligible 

A patient is not eligible for referral and requires in-person or emergency care if the patient is unattached and any of the following applies:

  • The prescription is for narcotics, controlled drugs, cancer medication or cannabis. (Some targeted substances such as benzodiazepines may be eligible on a case-by-case basis)
  • They are deemed medically unstable for renewal or adaptation. The pharmacist directs the patient to seek in-person assessment
  • They require (or request) a referral to a specialist

What the PPRSS team does

When the PPRSS team receives a PPRSS eForm from a community pharmacist, one or more of the following will happen within 5 days.

PPRSS pharmacist

  • Verifies reason for referral, patient’s recent history of medication fills, relevant lab results, or health care encounters recorded on CareConnect
  • Phones the patient (or caregiver, with patient consent) to confirm health information and current actual prescription and non-prescription medication use, also known as best possible medication history (BPMH) (Note: PPRSS medication reviews are not claimed in PharmaNet)
  • Identifies and resolves any medication therapy concerns
  • Documents care using SBAR (situation, background, assessment, recommendation) in electronic record system used by PPRSS team. With patient consent, documentation is uploaded to CareConnect and viewable under “Community Documents”
  • Enters recommendations for prescription renewal or further assessment, such as a laboratory test, in the pharmacist’s note before case transferred to physician

PPRSS physician

  • Reviews PPRSS pharmacist documentation
  • Consults CareConnect as needed
  • Phones patient (or caregiver) to verify relevant health history or symptoms and determine whether:
    • Prescription renewal(s) is appropriate. If yes, finalizes and faxes prescription to the referring pharmacy
    • Laboratory work is required. If yes, completes requisition and establishes a plan for the patient to get the lab work
      • The virtual physician is responsible for following up on lab work they order
      • They will only complete the relevant prescription renewal once they have viewed the test results
      • Community pharmacists may view lab results in Care Connect, and patients may view them in Health Gateway
    • Recommendation to a UPCC for an in-person assessment if required. 
      • The physician informs the patient they are being referred to a UPCC and which one
      • Physician completes electronic UPCC notification
      • For UPCCs that book appointments, the UPCC will contact the patient to book an appointment. The process for contacting a patient and booking an appointment can differ among health authorities and UPCCs. Patients should hear from a UPCC within the time disposition assigned by the PPRSS (within 24 hours, 48 hours, 3 days, or 5 days)
      • If the patient does not receive a call from the UPCC within their assigned time disposition, the patient can visit or phone the UPCC their notification was sent to  
      • The patient is responsible for requesting additional emergency medication supply from their community pharmacist if needed, before a UPCC follow-up appointment is scheduled

If a patient is referred for in-person care, the receiving clinician (i.e., UPCC, emergency department or other clinic) is responsible for ordering lab work and following the results.

Declined or lost to follow up

If a patient declines PPRSS or cannot be reached after three days of attempts, a voice mail message will be left to notify them that their file will be closed and that a new referral can be sent as needed. When possible, the PPRSS virtual pharmacist calls the referring community pharmacist to let them know the referral was not completed.

Communicating with PPRSS

If a community pharmacist has more information to share about a referral sent to PPRSS or needs clarificatFion about a prescription received from PPRSS, they may phone the provider-only line at any time: 604-215-7108. They should leave a message for the relevant PPRSS team member (physician or pharmacist) and their contact information.

Messages may be left at any time of day. A PPRSS team member will follow up during service hours (9 am-6 pm).

How to submit the Prescription Renewal eForm

To submit a PPRSS eForm, you must first register in the Provider Identity Portal (PIdP). Providers create a secure digital identity in PIdP, which is a single portal to several provincial health systems and programs. You only need to register in PIdP once.

To enrol for access to the PPRSS eForm, you will need the BC Services Card app set up on a mobile device.

See How to submit the PPRSS eForm for guidance on enrolling in PIdP and submitting the eForm.

Contacts – For health providers only

These contacts are for health providers only (primarily pharmacists). If the general public has questions about prescription renewals, they should talk to their pharmacist.

Technical support – business hours

Monday-Friday 8 am to 4 pm

Technical support – after hours

Monday-Friday: 4 pm to 7 pm
Saturday, Sunday and statutory holidays: 8 am to 7 pm

  • 604-877-2159 (providers only)

Pharmacist support

PPRSS will tell patients to contact their pharmacist if they are having trouble accessing a script renewed by PPRSS. If this happens, community pharmacists can contact PPRSS on the provider-only line:

  • 604-215-7108 (providers only)

Reference – Community pharmacist script for referring a patient to PPRSS

This script is meant as a guide. Please exercise your own professional judgement in your assessments and communications with patients. 

Introduce the option

I have reviewed your medication(s)/condition(s), and I am unable to renew your medication(s).

I will be referring you to the provincial prescription renewal support service, and a pharmacist or physician from the team will call you over the phone to help you with your prescription or if you need further assessment. 

You are eligible for referral because you are not attached to a regular primary care provider and because [one of the following]:

  • Your prescription is unexpired (less than 2 years old), but the prescribing physician’s licence is inactive
  • Your prescription is expired (2 or more years old)
  • I believe a physician’s opinion is warranted to determine if you are stable for renewal/adaptation
    • Patients deemed not stable for renewal/adaptation by pharmacists should be sent directly to a primary care (walk-in) clinic of the patient's choosing, an Urgent and Primary Care Centre (UPCC), or emergency department, as appropriate
  • You need one or more lab tests to confirm clinical stability and should be referred for laboratory ordering and assessment

Describe the process

The provincial prescription renewal support service means: 

  • A pharmacist will call you, ask you for consent and conduct a detailed medication review with you over the phone
  • A physician will contact you to do a virtual medical assessment, so they may modify/provide a prescription, request lab work or refer you to your local urgent and primary care centre/a primary care provider’s clinic for an in-person assessment, if required. If they order lab work for you, the lab results will be sent to the provincial prescription renewal support service physician, and they will call you to follow up later

Seek consent

Do I have your consent to make a referral with your personal/medical information electronically (through eForms) to the provincial prescription renewal support service?

Emergency supply, if applicable

I will provide you with ____ (10-14 days, if appropriate) days of medication to cover you until a physician or pharmacist from the provincial prescription renewal support service gets in touch with you.

Confirm phone number

May I double check to confirm that we have your up-to-date contact information? [verify phone number]

Next steps

A staff person from the provincial prescription renewal support service will follow up with you directly within 5 days. As they’ll contact you directly, we won’t be able to give you an update.

Do you have any questions or concerns?