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The government of Ontario announced today that it will provide low-income seniors access to quality dental care through a new publicly-funded dental care program that will begin in late summer 2019. When fully implemented this will be an annual $90 million program.

"No senior in Ontario should go without quality dental care," said Christine Elliott, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.
Ontarians aged 65 and over with an income of $19,300 or less or couples with a combined annual income of $32,300 or less, who do not have dental benefits, will qualify for the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program. The services will be accessed through public health units,community health centres and Aboriginal Health Access Centres across the province.

Once the program is launched, seniors will be able to get an application form from the ministry’s website or public health unit. Applications will be assessed, and eligible clients will be enrolled in the program.

By winter 2019, the program will expand to include new dental services in underserviced areas, including through mobile dental buses and an increased number of dental suites in public health units.

The government had proposed to reduce Ontario's 35 public health units to 10 larger agencies. How this would affect the delivery of the dental service  was not addressed.

In 2015, there were almost 61,000 hospital emergency visits for dental problems, at a cost to Ontario’s health care system of approximately $31 million. Untreated oral health issues can lead to chronic diseases and a reduced quality of life, while also creating a reliance on emergency departments already under increased capacity pressures.

source: media release, Government of Ontario


 

 

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