Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Program Policy Changes - OTs can now assess/recommend defined Medical Supplies and Equipment

The Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Program provides clients (registered First Nations and recognized Inuit) with coverage for a range of health benefits. Benefits under the NIHB Program include prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications, dental and vision care, medical supplies and equipment, mental health counselling, and transportation to access health services not available locally. Information about the NIHB Program can be found at www.canada.ca/NIHB.

Effective April 15, 2019, a recommendation and/or an assessment report from a registered OT will be accepted for the coverage of a defined list of medical supplies and equipment benefits.  This includes items in the following categories: bathing and toileting aids, dressing aids, feeding aids, lifting and transfer aids, mobility aids, wheelchairs, off the shelf orthosis, and compression garments.

View Indigenous Services Canada‚Äôs communication to Ontario occupational therapists - English  -  French

OTs are referred to the Program's Questions and Answers document for more information on this policy.  A list of items that registered OTs can recommend can be found on the Government of Canada Website on the Medical Supplies and Equipment Benefit Lists. Information concerning the medical supplies and equipment policies can be found on the Guide for Medical Supplies and Equipment Benefits. 

Inquiries to the NIHB Program can be sent by email to NIHB-SSNA@hc-sc.gc.ca.

Implications for Occupational Therapists
Occupational therapists working with Ontario's with First Nations or Inuit will recognize the benefits of this new policy amendment which expands the range of regulated health professionals who can authorize medical supplies and equipment.  This change will eliminate the need to access a presciription from a physician or nurse for prescribed equipment and supplies.  The occupational therapist's assessment and recommendations, documented as described will suffice for designated supplies and equipment.  OTs working with clients covered by the NIHB should familiarize themselves with these policy changes and the program in general at www.canada.ca/NIHB.