Dentures trouble for Victoria man
Teeth removed months earlier, budget nixes dental coverage
When Dallas Clarke spoke with the person on the other end of the line last Thursday to confirm her father’s appointment with a denturist, she was shocked to find out the procedure wasn’t covered under the provincial drug program.
“’You do understand that it’s not covered on the government program,’” Clarke recalls being told. “I said, ‘ You’re joking.’ She said, ‘No. The day the budget went down, that program was finished.’”
In the April 14 budget, government eliminated the Adult Dental Program, anticipating it will save the province $3 million annually starting in 2017.
Leslie Penney was previously covered under the program as a senior over the age of 65. The procedure to get his dentures would cost approximately $2,200.
“The man hadn’t been able to eat for three months,” said Clarke. “Soup and jelly.”
Penney was having some trouble with his mouth, and it was medically recommended in January to remove his teeth over the course of a few appointments. By February, the 85-year- old was down to only two teeth, forcing him to live on a diet of soup and other non-solid food options.
“He’s adjusted his eating habits and everything to this while he’s been healing,” said Christine Power, Penney’s other daughter.
In early April before the budget was introduced in the House of Assembly, the appointment was booked for Penney to get his dentures. Penney lives in his own apartment attached to Clarke’s home in Victoria.
Power said her father survives on a fixed income with no extra money to pay for dentures. She said Penney would not have agreed to remove his teeth in the first place if he knew the procedure wouldn’t be covered.
Power immediately started contacting different people in government and other groups, including the Newfoundland and Labrador Dental Association. Eventually, local MHA Steve Crocker got back to her with some good news. Government would reimburse Penney for the procedure.
Leslie Penney of Victoria was left in a tight spot last week when he learned dentures were no longer being covered under the provincial government plan.