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Important announcement from Indigenous Services Canada-Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Program

Important announcement from Indigenous Services Canada-Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Program

Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Program about NIHB policy that may impact Registered Nurses (RN).

Q&A – Registered Nurses as prescribers/recommenders of select MS&E benefits

The Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Program provides coverage to registered First Nations and recognized Inuit for a range of medically necessary items and services when these benefits are not provided through other public programs or private health benefit plans. The NIHB Program provides coverage for prescription drugs, over-the-counter medication, medical supplies and equipment (MSE), mental health counselling, dental care, vision care, and medical transportation. Information about the NIHB Program can be found at

In order to expand access to benefits, the NIHB Program is pleased to announce that effective December 17, 2018, a prescription or recommendation from a RN will be accepted for a defined list of MSE.  This includes items in the following categories: bathing and toileting aids, dressing aids, feeding aids, transfer aids, walking aids, incontinence, ostomy and catheter supplies, wound care supplies and breast prostheses.

If RNs are not able to “prescribe” these MSE items within their provincial/territorial scope of practice, the Program will accept a written recommendation for coverage. RNs are asked to ensure that the following information is provided when prescribing or recommending MSE items:

  • the client’s full given name and surname, date of birth and client identification number if possible;
  • the item being prescribed/recommended, including applicable details such as make/model, quantity, frequency, and size (the height & weight of the client if applicable);
  • RN’s printed name, professional designation, title and hand-written signature;
  • RN’s provincial college/association license number;
  • RN’s written signature and date (signed within the past 12 months); and
  • RN’s phone number and email.

Please refer to the attached Questions and Answers document for more information on this policy. A list of items that RNs can prescribe/recommend can be found on the Indigenous Canada Website on the Medical Supplies and Equipment Benefit Lists. Information concerning the MSE policies can be found on the Guide for Medical Supplies and Equipment Benefits.

Please note, RNs may only prescribe or recommend items within their professional competency and area of practice in accordance with the appropriate provincial/territorial legislation.

Inquiries to the NIHB Program can be sent by email to