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Health Centres keen to help deliver new Dental Program for Low-Income Seniors
Toronto, April 11, 2019 - The Alliance for Healthier Communities is pleased to see the commitment in the Ontario budget to bring in a dental program for low-income seniors.
“In Ontario, one in five people do not visit a dentist because they cannot afford it. And we know you cannot be truly healthy if you have diseased teeth and gums,” said Adrianna Tetley, CEO of the Alliance for Healthier Communities. “So we welcome this new government dental program for seniors living on low incomes. It’s an important step forward in ensuring access to dental care for all.”
“We are pleased that our advocacy in partnership with the Ontario Oral Health Alliance has helped get oral health care on the government’s health agenda”.
Within the membership of the Alliance for Healthier Communities, 25 Community Health Centres and three Aboriginal Health Access Centres have full treatment dental clinics. Many others are interested in installing a dental suite to serve vulnerable people in their communities.
“Our member Community Health Centres and Aboriginal Health Access Centres are ready and willing, with additional funding, to help deliver the new dental program for seniors. Because Alliance members offer comprehensive primary health care, they can also provide wrap-around services to ensure low income seniors get the care they need – help with transportation, interpretation and connecting them to other health and social services all under one roof,” says Tetley.
Public dental clinics deliver cost-effective services with salaried dental staff working within defined budgets. Over the past four years, four Community Health Centres in eastern Ontario have been providing dental services to adults and seniors on low incomes with funding from the Local Health Integration Network. Evaluation shows a return on investment of 178% as they provide preventive care and treat people who would have otherwise gone to a hospital emergency room.
Budget documents indicate that this new investment in public dental programs for seniors will reduce dental visits to hospital emergency rooms, saving the healthcare system over $38 million annually.