Ex­panded den­tal pro­gram has teeth

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION -

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.

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