At Home Program
Last Updated: September 21, 2020
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As a result of the pandemic, Nursing Support Services (NSS) reports delays in conducting At Home Program Assessments. If your child is likely to be eligible for the At Home Program and appears to meet the AHP eligibility criteria, they can be temporarily admitted without an assessment. Children currently on the AHP will maintain their current eligibility until assessors become available. To apply to the AHP, you must:
- Apply to the AHP using the AHP Application Form found on the AHP website;
- Provide supportive documentation from a regulated health professional (e.g. Physical Therapist or Pediatrician) describing the child’s functional need for support for daily living activities (eating, dressing, bathing and toileting);
- Send your application to your AHP regional office.
Please note: Once nursing support services has fully resumed At Home program assessments, your child/youth must undergo an At Home program assessment to maintain eligibility.
The AHP admission processes are unchanged for urgent admissions. Eligibility committees and regional advisors will maintain regular processes for urgent admissions.
These admissions will come to the Medical Benefits program as “urgent admits” and will need to be tracked by CYSN social workers for follow-up AHP assessments.
The Product Distribution Centre (PDC) is delivering supplies as normal. Services providing supplies and repairing equipment for people with extra support needs have been deemed a COVID-19 BC essential service. You can contact the PDC about your authorized supplies, or you can contact your AHP regional office if you have general questions about supplies in your region.
If you are receiving direct funding, you must keep all receipts for all purchases billed to the AHP medical benefits for three years.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can be accessed through medical benefits, however requests must be related to your child’s diagnosis, deemed medically necessary and recommended in writing by a health professional.
CMEDS is still in full operation with enhanced cleaning and some adjustments to equipment pick up and drop off.
AHP is intended to assist parents or guardians with some of the extraordinary costs of caring for a child with severe disabilities at home.
PPE provided by AHP Medical Benefits focuses on protecting the child. It may include items that prevent the transmission of infections to children and youth who are at greatest risk of not being able to fight infections (immunocompromised).
During the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be certain situations where PPE is needed to keep a child or youth healthy and safe. For this to be provided by AHP it must be:
- Medically Necessary – This could be because the child has a reduced ability for the body to fight infections (immunocompromised) as a result of the medications or treatments they are receiving. For more information of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and children with immune suppression see the BC Centre for Disease Control’s information on Children with Immune Suppression.
- Directly related to the child or youth’s health condition(s) that made them eligible for the AHP – For example, PPE is required to prevent infections while using feeding and breathing equipment. This includes gastrostomy (G-Tube) feeding and the use of ventilators or suctioning equipment to manage severe respiratory (breathing) issues.
Before requesting PPE through the At Home Program, the following points should be considered:
- PPE is the last and least effective of the infection prevention and exposure control measure and should only be considered after exploring all other measures. Washing hands is the preferred method of hand cleaning and can be accomplished within the home.
- The type of PPE should be specific to the child/youth needs and circumstances.
- Immediate family members are not likely to need PPE to protect their child, when they are all living in the same household. Family members outside of the child/youth’s established safety bubble are encouraged to follow the guidelines laid out by the BC Centre for Disease Control.
- PPE that is designed for caregiver health, caregiver safety or personal preference are not eligible medical equipment or supplies under the AHP.
- Service providers are expected to provide their own PPE.
How to Request Medical Supplies (Like PPE)
To request medical supplies, the child or youth’s health care professional (e.g., registered nurse, physician, nurse practitioner, respiratory therapist, or registered dietician) must complete Request for Medical Supplies form, which must include a specific diagnosis to support the reason for needing PPE.
Requests must be submitted to AHP Medical Benefits for review.
TOLL-FREE: 1 888 613-3232
VICTORIA: 250 387-9649
FAX: 250 356-2159
Families and caregivers of children or youth whose 18th birthday falls between March 15, 2020 and August 31, 2020 will have up to three additional months to use unspent funding from the affected funding period.
SAET and Virtual Care
School Aged Extended Therapy (SAET) funding can be used for virtual care. Service providers can provide parent coaching and deliver services through electronic means in compliance with Regulatory Colleges and provincial privacy laws. If you decide virtual care is the best course of action for your unique family situation, reach out to your regular professionals to plan next-steps.
Parents and caregivers make the final decision on services for their child. If your therapist suggests a virtual option of an eligible service, it is up to the parent or caregiver to decide if it supports their goals for their child's care. If virtual care is not the best option for you and your family, your service provider may choose to offer in-person care. MCFD encourages families using these in person services to follow the orders and guidance of the Provincial Health Officer.
- To support in-person appointments and ensure safety, use the COVID-19 Self Assessment tool and review the BC Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 preventative measures information
- Regulated health professionals (such as Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists) are mandated to follow the BC Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 Care instructions for vulnerable people
Guidelines for Virtual Care
Service providers are expected to comply with the standards set by their regulatory colleges related to virtual care and all other service practices. To bill Medical Benefits At Home Program for direct service the following is required:
- Child/youth must be present for the session
- Parent/guardian must have authorization for services
- Privacy considerations must comply with MCFD’s Confidentiality and Disclosure of Information guidelines and E-communication guidelines along with provincial privacy law
School Aged Extended Therapy Invoicing
SAET Invoices must clearly indicate details of existing authorization for services in order to qualify for payment. It should be clearly stated that these services are being provided through virtual care. Services lasting less than one hour must be prorated. Therapy service providers may bill up to a combined total of $480 (within the maximum of $3,840) for consultation, report writing and travel purposes within the twelve-month period. This is intended to support a coordinated therapy plan across multiple environments and professional disciplines.