Finding medical specialists for refugees

IFHP and OHIP coverage

All medical specialists who bill to OHIP are available at no extra charge to refugees with OHIP coverage.

IFHP will pay OHIP rates to specialists for providing emergency or essential care to patients who are referred to them by a general practitioner. If no referral was made, IFHP will pay specialists at general-practitioner rates.

Prior approval is required for specialists who bill IFHP for prolonged care.

To ensure that the services being prescribed are covered, consult the IFHP Basic Coverage Benefit Grid.

For more information about how to verify patients’ eligibility and submit claims, read the Government of Canada’s overview of IFHP for health-care professionals.

Language barriers affect access

The lack of interpretation services is a significant barrier for refugees who see specialists at their clinics. However, interpretation services are generally available when specialists see their patients at a hospital.

Providers of specialized services in the priority areas of chronic-disease management, mental health and addictions and care of the elderly can apply for interpretation services through Ottawa Language Access. The program, funded by the Champlain Local Health Integration Network, offers providers short-term language interpretation on request.

How to book an interpreter

Ask for an interpreter to be arranged at least 24 hours before they are required. You can book an interpreter in one of two ways:

  1. Call the Ottawa Newcomer Health Centre: 613-691-0192 ext. 6007
  2. Complete this written request for interpretation.

Rapid consultations with specialists

eConsult is a secure, web-based platform, hosted by the Champlain Local Health Integration Network, for health-service providers seeking rapid online consultations from medical specialists about specific patient cases. Refugee and immigrant health is one of the specialties available. If you are not already registered with eConsult, email to get set up.