Expanded dental program has teeth
An enhanced provincial adult dental health program is currently being implemented and will be in effect Jan. 1 of next year.
Some $ 1.5 million was approved in this year’s budget to expand the program and improve access to dental services for people with low incomes. Government will spend $6.1 million annually on the program when it is fully up and running
“Enhancing quality health care and promoting healthy living is a priority of this government and of the Department of Health and Community Services,” Health and Community Services Minister Jerome Kennedy said in a news release.
The Carbonear-Harbour Grace MHA suggested, “maintaining good oral health is a key to an individual’s overall health. The enhancements government is making to the adult dental health program reflect our commitment to ensuring all residents of the province have the ability to access essential health services.”
Effective Jan. 1, the program will expand to make select diagnostic and therapeutic dental services available once every three years to adults who are covered under certain provincial prescription drug program plans.
They include: the foundation plan, which provides 100 per cent coverage to those in receipt of income support; the access plan, which provides support to low income families and individuals; and, the 65-plus plan, which provides coverage to residents 65 years-of-age and older who receive Old Age Security benefits and the Guaranteed Income Supplement.
Currently, adults in receipt of income support are covered for dental services related to emergency extractions only.
Kennedy noted, “government is committed to decreasing the financial barriers that exist, and providing the opportunity to improve access to dental health services for individuals with low incomes throughout this province.”
In addition, the funding included in Budget 2011 will allow coverage of dentures to be expanded from those in receipt of income support to include those covered under the access plan and the 65-plus plan.