How do I register as a health-care provider with the Interim Federal Health Program?
You can register to become a health-care provider with the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) online or on paper (PDF, 335 KB). For detailed instructions on how to register, call Medavie Blue Cross at 1-888-614-1880.
Note: Pharmacies must register to become IFHP providers by calling Medavie Blue Cross. Once registered, pharmacies must contact their software vendors to update their carrier codes so that IFHP pharmacy claims can be submitted electronically to Medavie Blue Cross.
Each new registered provider will receive a complete kit including:
- welcome letter,
- claim forms,
- direct deposit request form,
- benefit grids, and
- the IFHP Information Handbook for Health Care Professionals (PDF, 6.89 MB).
How do I verify that a patient is eligible for treatment through the Interim Federal Health Program?
Follow these steps:
- Ask your patient to show their eligibility document. This could be an Interim Federal Health Certificate or a Refugee Protection Claimant Document.
- Ask for proof of identification (immigration document with a photo or government-issued identification with a photo) before you provide services.
- To confirm if the patient is eligible, use the client’s identification number (that is the eight-digit number that appears on the IFHP eligibility document) before you provide any service or product by:
- calling the Medavie Blue Cross IFHP Provider Inquiry (toll-free call centre) at 1-888-614-1880 (Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in each Canadian time zone), or
- using the IFHP Secure Provider Web Portal.
For more information on how to verify if a patient is eligible, please see the quick reference guide (PDF, 242 KB). You can also see examples of IFHP eligibility documents in the IFHP Information Handbook for Health Care Professionals (PDF, 6.9 MB).
Registered health-care providers can contact Medavie Blue Cross to get information on whether or not specific benefits/services will be covered. Their contact information is:
- email: CIC_Inquiry@medavie.bluecross.ca
- phone: 1-888-614-1880
- fax: 506-867-3841
How long does it take for a patient’s Interim Federal Health Program eligibility to show in the Medavie Blue Cross system?
It takes two business days for the Medavie Blue Cross system to show if a patient is eligible. Patients are still eligible during this period.
All Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) clients are eligible for coverage starting on the date their IFHP eligibility document is issued.
If a patient requests services or products during this period, please follow these procedures, also found on the Medavie Provider website (PDF, 229 KB).
Does the Interim Federal Health Program provide coverage for mental health services?
Yes. The IFHP Basic Coverage covers:
- mental health services provided by physicians (such as psychiatrists, general or family practitioners), or
- services provided by mental health hospitals.
The IFHP also covers mental health services provided by allied health professionals (such as clinical psychologists, psychotherapists, or counselling therapists) under the IFHP Supplemental Coverage (PDF, 484 KB). To become an IFHP registered provider, allied health professionals must be licensed in the province or territory in which they practice with their provincial or territorial licensing body.
- The IFHP does not require prior approval for the services provided by physicians or mental health hospitals.
- Medavie Blue Cross requires prior approval for mental health services provided by allied health professionals.
What is the prior approval criteria for mental health services provided by allied professionals?
Prior approval requests must be accompanied by:
- A letter from a physician that indicates the diagnosis and referral for assessment / psychotherapy / counselling therapy and
- the Initial Assessment report.
The Initial Assessment can be conducted upon referral from a physician and must include a:
- clinical interview,
- brief psychometric screening (where appropriate) and
- a report to the IFHP indicating a treatment plan and expected duration of treatment (if applicable).
This assessment can be billed to a maximum of 2 hours. The provider should not proceed with further treatment until they get prior approval.
For more information, refer to the IFHP Supplemental Benefit Grid (PDF, 484 KB), Note 2.
How many counselling sessions are clients entitled to once prior approval is received?
The IFHP will initially approve up to 10 one-hour sessions, not including the initial assessment. If more treatment is needed, providers can submit a request to the IFHP. It must be accompanied by a physician’s recommendation for more sessions. A discharge summary report must be submitted to both the referring physician and IFHP once treatment is completed.
The IFHP does not cover group psychotherapy sessions or the following services:
- Psycho-educational assessments
- Life skills training
- Expressive arts therapy
- Sex therapy
Does the Interim Federal Health Program cover interpretation services for mental health therapy?
If interpretation is needed during the treatment/counselling, the IFHP will reimburse $28.95/per hour for interpretation services (i.e., for 10 hours of therapy IFHP will reimburse 10 hours of interpretation services)
Interpreters must be registered with the IFHP to be reimbursed for their services.
What are the fee rates paid to health-care providers with the Interim Federal Health Program?
Rates for services/products provided are in line with:
- provincial/territorial health insurance rates (where applicable),
- usual or customary fees for a given service (where applicable), or
- standard Interim Federal Health Program rates.
The IFHP Benefit Grids list the services and products covered. Benefits are subject to limits and maximum dollar amounts, and some benefits require special authorization from Medavie Blue Cross.
For more information, please consult the IFHP Information Handbook for Health Care Professionals (PDF, 6.9 MB).
As a health-care provider, can I ask Interim Federal Health Program clients to pay for a service?
No. Health-care providers may not charge the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) clients for covered services.
For more information on the IFHP, see the Medavie Blue Cross guides:
- IFHP Information Handbook for Health Care Professionals (PDF, 6.9 MB)
- Quick Reference Guide – Verify Patient Coverage (PDF, 242 KB)
- Secure Web Portal and Electronic Claims Submissions Service Guide (October 2011) (PDF, 3.1 MB)
- Electronic Dental Claims Quick Reference Guide (PDF, 166 KB)
- Claims Procedures for Point of Sale (POS) Claims Transmissions (PDF, 229 KB)
Does the Interim Federal Health Program offer co-payment arrangements with other insurance plans or programs?
No. The IFHP is a payer of last resort, meaning that it provides benefits to those who lack public health insurance or comprehensive private health insurance.
The IFHP does not cover the cost of health-care services or products that a person may claim (even in part) under a public or private health insurance plan. The IFHP does not coordinate benefits with other insurance plans/programs so co-payments aren’t possible.
Can I register with the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) as a pre-departure medical services health-care provider?
You can register as an IFHP pre-departure medical services provider if you are a:
- panel physician or
- panel radiologist or
- certified secondary care provider (such as a hospital or facility) that provides services to refugees overseas
Registration with IFHP is based on your:
- scope of clinical practice
- affiliation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM)
- panel membership status.
For more information, consult the IFHP PDMS Provider Website.
How do I check that a patient is eligible for pre-departure medical coverage?
To ensure you will be reimbursed, you must check the eligibility status of each Interim Federal Health Program client before you provide any services.
If you are affiliated with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), you will have client eligibility confirmed by the IRCC visa office. To confirm client eligibility, you must:
- Confirm that the client’s name appears on the list received from visa offices.
- Confirm that the identity of the person matches the person in the identification document.
- Keep a copy of the list of eligible clients received from visa offices.
If you are not affiliated with the IOM, you must:
- Confirm that the client has an Interim Federal Health Certificate.
- Confirm that the identity of the person on the Interim Federal Health Certificate matches the person in the identification document.
- Keep a photocopy of the client’s Interim Federal Health Certificate in their records.
For services to be reimbursed, as a non-IOM affiliated provider you must attach a copy of the client’s Interim Federal Health Certificate to claims sent to Medavie Blue Cross.
Can I provide pre-departure vaccination services covered by the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP)?
If you are a panel physician affiliated with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), you can provide vaccination services covered by the IFHP to eligible clients.
Immunizations can only be provided in countries where IOM has the capacity to deliver vaccinations. The IFHP has developed instructions for the delivery of vaccination services, including:
- standard operating procedures
- vaccination schedules
- consent forms
- documentation worksheets
What are the fee rates paid to health care providers registered with the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) who deliver pre-departure medical services?
Rates for services/products provided are in line with:
- usual or customary fees for a given service or product (where applicable) or
- maximum fees or rates for specific benefits as approved by the IFHP
Certain services and products covered by the IFHP need prior approval to confirm clinical and/or administrative criteria. Benefits are subject to limits and maximum dollar amounts as determined by IFHP.
Consult the IFHP pre-departure medical services benefit grid or the IFHP Information Handbook for Pre-Departure Medical Services Providers.
As a registered pre-departure medical services provider, can I ask eligible clients to pay for services covered by the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP)?
No, you cannot charge eligible clients for services covered by the IFHP.
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