December 2021

By:  Trevor Mather, SaskAbilities, and Caro Gareau, CPSS Communications

Special Needs Equipment (SNE) for SK Patients: Clarification of requisition process for physicians

Special Needs Equipment (SNE) is one of the Saskatchewan Aids to Independent Living (SAIL) programs offered by the Ministry of Health. SaskAbilities operates the program under contract with the Ministry of Health.  It is a loan program for access to environmental and mobility equipment for eligible patients in need. 

The process for requisitions and referrals for special needs equipment can be somewhat unclear at times for patients and physicians.  Recently, SaskAbilities staff have encountered an increasing volume of prescription pad requisitions for wheelchairs, walkers, etc.  However, a simple prescription pad requisition or referral by a physician will not suffice, as physicians are not approved to sign most requisitions.  This can lead to a great deal of patient frustration and back and forth between patients, physicians and providers, and will cause delays for the client in receiving the equipment.

It is important to understand that special needs equipment can only be requisitioned by specific health care providers, such as Physiatrists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, and Home Care Nurses as approved by the Ministry of Health. This is because many items need to be set up a certain way and patients must be assessed and fitted by a trained professional, and provided with appropriate information.

Physicians must therefore refer their patient to one of the aforementioned professionals.

The SaskAbilities has prepared some general information to assist physicians in better understanding the program requirements to make the referral process easier.  You can find out more about accessing a special needs equipment loan through the SNE Program Manual.

Below is a link to a printable checklist from the Ministry that outlines for physicians who can requisition each desired piece of equipment.

 Special Needs Equipment Eligible Requisitioners Table

Additional information on the program and special needs equipment available can be found in the online Special Needs Equipment Manual.