Diet Supplements

Overview

Diet supplements assist recipients to meet costs associated with an unusually expensive therapeutic diet that is required as a result of a specific medical condition or a special dietary need.

Policy 

Effective: April 1, 2010

The ministry may provide a monthly diet supplement to assist recipients to meet costs associated with an unusually expensive therapeutic diet.  The special diet must be required as a result of one of the following specific medical conditions or special dietary needs:
 

  • Restricted Sodium Diet
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney dialysis
  • Gluten-free diet
  • Dysphagia
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Ketogenic Diet
  • Low Phenylalanine Diet (PKU)
  • High Protein Diet for specific medical conditions (see below for more information)

The monthly amounts paid for diet supplements are listed in the Rate Table: Health Supplements and Programs – Diet Supplements.

Effective: November 25, 2008

A diet supplement for a high protein diet may be provided only if the diet is confirmed by a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner as being necessary for one of the following medical conditions:
 

  • cancer that requires nutritional support during any of the following:
    • radiation therapy
    • chemotherapy
    • surgical therapy
    • ongoing medical treatment
  • chronic inflammatory bowel disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • ulcerative colitis
  • HIV positive diagnosis
  • AIDS
  • chronic bacterial infection
  • tuberculosis
  • hyperthyroidism
  • osteoporosis
  • hepatitis B
  • hepatitis C

High protein diet supplements cannot be issued for a medical condition not on this list, even if a medical practitioner confirms a recipient’s need for a high protein diet for the medical condition.

Effective: November 25, 2008

To be eligible for a diet supplement, recipients must provide written confirmation of the need for the diet supplement from a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner or from a dietitian who is registered with the College of Dietitians of British Columbia. This information should include the specific medical condition, the diet required, and the expected duration of need. The ministry is not responsible for any fees associated with documentation required.

In cases where the recipient has already provided sufficient medical information that enables the ministry to confirm eligibility for a diet supplement, the need for new medical documentation may be waived.

Recipients with more than one medical condition are only eligible to receive the diet supplement with the highest dollar value. If required, recipients eligible for high protein or dysphasia diet supplements may also be provided with assistance towards the purchase of a blender. [For maximum rates, see Rate Table: Health Supplements and Programs – Diet Supplements.]

A diet supplement may be authorized for the period it is expected to last based on the medical information received up to a maximum of 12 months for acute (short-term) conditions and 24 months for chronic (ongoing, recurring, long-term) conditions. Prior to the discontinuance of any diet supplement, a review of existing medical information will be conducted to confirm the continuing need and updated medical documentation will only be requested where necessary. In cases where the medical documentation confirms the diet supplement is required for chronic or ongoing medical conditions, the need for updated documentation may be waived.

[For guidelines on reviewing diet supplements, assigning review dates and waiving the requirement for updated medical documentation, see Additional Resources – Guidelines for Reviewing Diet Supplements.]

Effective: September 1, 2015

The following recipients are eligible for diet supplements:
 

  • persons receiving income assistance or disability assistance
  • persons receiving a natal supplement if the dietary needs are unrelated to pregnancy
  • children in the Child in Home of Relative (CIHR) Program
  • dependants of persons residing in a special care facility
  • persons receiving a grandparented tribunal award under Schedule C, Section 2(3) that is not a nutrition-related supplement

Effective: September 1, 2015

The following recipients are not eligible for diet supplements:

  • persons receiving another nutritional-related supplement
  • persons receiving  Medical Services Only (MSO)  
    [see Related Links – Medical Services Only]
  • persons receiving Transitional Health Services (THS)
    [see Related Links – Transitional Health Services]
  • persons receiving hardship assistance
  • persons in a special care facility
  • persons in Life-Threatening Health Needs (LTHN) files
    [see Related Links – Life-Threatening Health Needs]

Procedures

Effective: September 1, 2015

To apply for a diet supplement, recipients must provide documentation from their medical practitioner, nurse practitioner or a registered dietitian that confirms the need for the diet supplement.  When a recipient requests a diet supplement, the following steps must be completed:
 

  1. Review medical documentation presented and already on the system.

    Prior to requesting new documentation, review to see if the ministry already has sufficient medical information to confirm eligibility for a diet supplement. If so, the need for new medical documentation may be waived.
     
  2. For cases that require new medical information, request documentation from the recipient using the Information Required – Medical template letter (HR3237) [see Forms and Letters].
     
  3. Upon receipt of the required medical documentation, determine if the recipient is eligible for a diet supplement.
     
  4. If the recipient is found eligible for a diet supplement, apply the appropriate diet rate. [For maximum rates, see Rate Table: Health Supplements and Programs – Diet Supplements.]
     
  5. Set a notification for review:
  • no more than 12 months for acute (short-term) conditions;
  • no more than 24 months for chronic (long-term) conditions.

[For guidelines on assigning review dates, see Additional Resources – Guidelines for Reviewing Diet Supplements.]
 

  1. Advise recipient of decision and document decision.
     
  2. If a recipient is eligible for a high protein or dysphasia diet they may also be eligible for assistance towards a blender.  [For maximum rates, see Rate Table: Health Supplements and Programs – Diet Supplements.] It should be noted whether or not a blender was issued.
     
  3. If the recipient is found ineligible for a diet supplement, an Eligibility Denial Message may be sent to the recipient via My Self Serve (MySS) messaging.  Alternately, in the event the recipient does not have access to MySS, a Diet Supplement Denial letter (HR3139) [see Forms and Letters] may be sent to the recipient advising them of the decision, along with a copy of the Reconsideration and Appeals Brochure [see Additional Resources].

Effective: July 30, 2008

As dietary needs and medical conditions can change, it is necessary for the ministry worker to conduct regular reviews to confirm a recipient’s continued eligibility.  Reviews are conducted at least every two years based on the recipient’s individual situation.

To conduct a review, complete the following steps:
 

  1. Review medical documentation.

    Upon receiving notification that a recipient’s diet supplement is set to discontinue in three months and prior to requesting updated medical information, review existing medical documentation on the system to confirm diagnosis, need for specific diet supplement and duration indicated.
     
  2. Establish if medical condition and need for diet supplement is acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term).

    [For guidelines on reviewing diet supplements, assigning review dates and waiving the requirement for updated medical documentation, see Additional Resources – Guidelines for Reviewing Diet Supplements.]
     
  3. In cases where the need for the diet supplement is determined to be a result of a chronic, ongoing medical condition, no updated documentation should be required and review date can be reset for two years.
     
  4. In cases where the need for the diet supplement was due to an acute or short-term medical condition and where existing medical information does not support continued need, send the Diet Supplement Review Letter (HR3138) [see Forms and Letters] to request updated medical information from the recipient.
     
  5. Upon receipt of the required medical information, determine if the recipient is eligible for a diet supplement.
     
  6. If the recipient is found eligible for a diet supplement, choose the appropriate product. [For maximum rates, see Rate Table: Health Supplements and Programs – Diet Supplements.]
     
  7. Set a notification for review:
  • no more than 12 months for acute (short-term) conditions;
  • no more than 24 months for chronic (long-term) conditions.

[For guidelines on assigning review dates, see Additional Resources – Guidelines for Reviewing Diet Supplements.]
 

  1. Advise recipient of decision and document decision.
     
  2. If a diet supplement is being denied or discontinued as a result of a review, an Eligibility Denial Message may be sent to the recipient via My Self Serve (MySS) messaging.   Alternately, in the event the recipient does not have access to MySS, a Diet Supplement Denial letter (HR3139) [see Forms and Letters] may be sent to the recipient advising them of the decision, along with a copy of the Reconsideration and Appeals Brochure [see Additional Resources].

Note: Reviews must be completed within the three-month period or the payment of the diet supplement will be discontinued. If a recipient fails to provide the requested information, attempt to contact the recipient by phone or signal their cheque. Discontinuance of a supplement should only be allowed to occur once the ministry worker has made a review decision, the client has been notified of the decision in advance of discontinuance and the client has been given the opportunity to request reconsideration.

Frequently Asked Questions 

 

Question  What documentation is required for recipients applying for diet assistance?

Answer  To be eligible for a diet supplement, recipients must provide written confirmation of the need for the diet supplement from a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner or from a dietitian who is registered with the College of Dietitians of British Columbia.  This information should include the specific medical condition, the diet required, and the expected duration of need.  Prior to requesting new documentation, review to see if the ministry already has sufficient medical information to confirm eligibility for a diet supplement.
 

 

Question  A recipient submits documentation requesting a diet supplement and attaches a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner’s bill for a form fee. Does the ministry cover this?

Answer  No. The ministry is not responsible for any fees associated with documentation required for diet supplements.

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