COVID-19 Update # 13 from the AFN Health Director | May 13, 2020

May 13, 2020

Health Director Update #13

Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Program Update

Virtual dental consultation services

  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, dental providers have postponed non-emergency services.
  • NIHB will temporarily cover fees for consultation services by phone or other virtual methods offered by dental providers to help them assess clients’ needs and facilitate access to emergency dental care.
  • Please contact your dental provider’s office if you require emergency dental services.

Virtual services and shipping for hearing devices

  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, NIHB will cover some services that can be provided through tele-audiology, if offered by the provider. This includes: fitting and dispensing, hearing aid performance check and readjustment
  • If providers offer fitting and support services through tele-audiology, they can temporarily ship hearing devices directly to you, so you don’t have to go to their office in person to pick up the item. This includes:
    • hearing aids o bone-anchored hearing system processors o replacement of cochlear implant processors
    • FM systems. Providers will program the hearing device according to client-specific needs before shipping, and contact you by telephone to provide the first fitting remotely.
  • When providers begin offering in-person services again, they will contact you to schedule a follow-up visit to their office.

Temporary coverage for electric breast pump purchase

  • Until further notice, the purchase of a double electric breast pump will be covered instead of a rental.

Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) therapy

  • If a client infected with COVID-19 uses positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy, this may increase the risk of transmission to others in the home.
  • If you are in this situation, talk to your health care provider about the risks and benefits of continuing PAP therapy.
  • Clients who have COVID-19 and continue PAP therapy can request additional supplies (tubing, filters, and masks) from the NIHB Program.

Information for parents and guardians of NIHB-eligible infant children

  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be delays in registering an infant for First Nation status.
  • In order to allow additional time for parents to register their infant children, NIHB has extended coverage of unregistered infants up to 24 months of age, until further notice.
  • Infants up to 12 months of age can access most types of NIHB benefits under the identification number of their eligible parent or guardian. If your child has reached 12 months of age and is not registered, please call the NIHB Drug Exception Centre if pharmacy services are required. For all other benefits, call your NIHB regional office. You will be provided with a temporary NIHB client number that is valid until your child reaches 24 months of age.

Reminder - changes in other coverage

  • Let NIHB know as soon as possible if you no longer have other health benefit coverage (for example, through an employer sponsored plan).
  • Contact your NIHB regional office, the Drug Exception Centre (for pharmacy benefits), or the Dental Predetermination Centre (for dental benefits).
  • NIHB will update your file right away to avoid delays in processing future claims.

NIHB Client Inquiries
Atlantic 1-800-565-3294


 Our Mental Health services provided by NSHA are still being offered via telephone.

Kelly Breau, NSHA Adult Clinician (902)740-3083
Michael Ross, NSHA Adult Clinician (902)521-5128
Heidi Mitton, NSHA Child and Youth Clinician (902)247-3429
Brynn Davies, NSHA Child and Youth Clinician (902)670-4923

CRISIS AND REFERRAL SERVICES offered in Mikmaw or English.
TOLL FREE 1-855-379-2099

Kids Help Phone is available 24/7, by calling 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free)

As always, continue with Proper hygiene which will reduce the risk of infection or spreading infection to others:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the washroom and when preparing food
    • use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
  • when coughing or sneezing:
    • cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand
    • dispose of any tissues you have used as soon as possible in a lined waste basket and wash your hands afterwards
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands

Marla Robinson-Pyne
Health Director Acadia First Nation
Phone: (902)742-0257