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AOHC & OOHA reveal inappropriate use of hospital ER for dental issues

Dental Suite with hygenist and person

AOHC research has found that across Ontario in 2012 there were almost 58,000 visits to hospital Emergency Rooms for oral health problems (Ministry of Health & Long Term Care IntelliHEALTH ONTARIO)

Many people are using costly acute care ER for dental problems because they cannot afford dental treatment. But at the ER they can only get pain killers, not treatment to solve the problem. So many will return to ER.

This is a costly and inappropriate use of hospital ER. At a minimum cost of $513/visit (St. Michael’s Hospital ER Dept), the total estimated cost for dental visits to ER in Ontario was at least $30million in 2012.

The Ontario government  set up Health Links  in 2012 with one goal being to reduce avoidable ER visits.   Dental visits to ER are avoidable – we need government action to make this happen.

  • Tell your MPP and local media: If low income people could get their oral health needs met at affordable community-based clinics they would not be clogging up their local ER .
  • The Ontario government should re-direct the $30million (minimum estimate) spent on acute care for oral health  in ERs to a public dental program for low income adults.

Read the related Toronto Start article:  Ontario ERs ill equipped to handle dental problems

AOHC members and partners from the Ontario Oral Health Alliance are meeting with MPPs with further evidence of the need for government investment in preventative oral health programs for low income adults. For a lobby kit contact jacquie@aohc.org

Wednesday, October 30, 2013