The sustainability of a new program to help children from low income families access dental care is being called into question.
The Ontario government has announced that it will roll six publicly funded dental programs into one called Healthy smiles.
MPP Ted McMeekin says income eligibility has also been expanded to bring in an additional 70 thousand children.
“It’s now about thirty thousand dollars, depends on how many kids you have but it’s going to be obviously something that some families that were excluded previously will no longer be.”
Dr. Victor Kutcher, President of the Ontario Dental Association says while every dentist wants to help, the current model makes it difficult.
“The funding model has not improved, for the current reimbursement rates that are within the Healthy Smiles program, they are significantly below the cost of actually running a practice.”
Healthy Smiles reimburse dentists below 45 per cent of what is in their fee guide according to Kutcher.
While he commends the program administration and the efficiencies that have been found through Healthy Smiles he says more discussion needs to take place around sustainability.
Adding that he is very happy to be sitting down with the government on the issue.
The Healthy Smiles program covers routine check-ups, cleanings, x-rays and some dental emergencies for youth 17 years old and under, who meet the eligibility requirements.