So you are a status-first nations person (as defined by the Indian Act) or an Inuit (that’s right this drug plan does not include all Indigenous people and does not include Metis people–thanks to @jess_danforth for that information), and you tried to get your prescription refilled Sunday night (allegedly by Health Canada this problem has been going on since Sunday night) or Monday night, but you couldn’t?
Well, that’s because there is a claims problem at FNIHB (First Nations and Inuit Branch) with their NIHB (Non-insured Health Benefits) plan.
It just so happens that this problem started right after the Idle No More movement. Well, allegedly it began on Sunday not Monday.
So I thought I would take a walk over to my pharmacy where I get my prescriptions refilled and I could get my birth control (since I had that sitting there for the past two weeks just didn’t need yet as of yet). The pharmacist said that they could not process my migraine medication (that I don’t need today but I will need when I get a migraine). The reasoning the pharmacist gave me was this:
“The provider says that there is a limit on the amount of tablets they can give out so you have to wait until that time limit has passed.”
I asked when that time limit was, and they usually give me a time limit and when I can come back.
“They didn’t provide a time limit and it doesn’t say anything here”
So I guess it is kind of a claims problem. I walked back home and decided to do a little google search and this is what I found.
Apparently our NHIB program is under an audit since some pharmacies have been making claims against prescriptions that have not been filled or have never been dropped off, or there were “administrative” errors. There are TWO pharmacies being under investigation for fraudulent claims in the millions. This article reads:
Ottawa is suing a Manitoba pharmacist and his former drug store for $3.1 million over allegations they fleeced the aboriginal health-benefits plan.
Another Nova Scotia pharmacist and his numbered company face a $1.36-million lawsuit over allegedly “fraudulent” claims.
Then in the same article, Health Canada is quoted saying *wait for it … wait for it*
“We put the health of our First Nations first. But we have rigorous programs. We’ve very conscious of the public purse, and we’re always doing things to refine our surveillance programs,” she said.
“We’re always working to make sure that we tighten everything up around the edges. We examine what we’re covering, how we’re covering it, and the processes. So it’s a very rigorous program.”
Yes Health Canada you put the health of our First Nations first, and that is why you don’t know why your claims department has been having “problems” since the beginning of the Idle No More protests that have been rolling out across the country, and you don’t know when the problems will be solved.
Good job Health Canada, and yet again First Nations peoples are exploited by institutions without their knowledge. Also that emergency refill is bullshit because I couldn’t get my prescription “emergency” refilled nor could I ask for a “back claim.”
Health Canada: Thank you for your fuckin patronage!
Ps. please remember, I don’t *need* my migraine medication today but there are many elders and sick people who do need their medication TODAY!