Insurance

Public dental insurance could reduce overcrowding in hospitals

According to the plan of New Democratic Partymillions of families with an annual income of less than $90,000 who do not have dental insurance could qualify for coverage. This plan is part of the new bipartisan agreement between the NDP and the Liberal Party of Canada.

the New Democratic Party previously promised that the program would cover a list of services, including exams, cleanings, x-rays, fillings, root canals and crowns.

I think this will be the start of a lot of changes to make sure we now see oral health as part of our health, which it clearly is.says Joan Rush, a Vancouver-based disability advocate.

Statistics Canada data shows that about two-thirds of Canadians have dental insurance to cover their expenses, either fully or partially. On the other side, a third of the country pays out of pocket, including many elderly people, people with disabilities and others who live in situations of homelessness.

Heart attacks, strokes

This is the experience of Colette Langdon, from Barrie, Ontario. Colette Langdon receives a disability pension, which does not cover the full range of dental care.

Colette Langdon mistakenly thought a root canal treatment was covered, meaning a bill for a few thousand was sent for the treatment.

This dental canal? I still don’t have a crown on it, because I can’t pay for it.

Advocates and medical experts agree that prevention is the best approach for the health of Canadians and to avoid overburdening the healthcare system.

Bacteria that infect the gums can travel throughout the body and cause heart attacks and strokes, for examplesays Jo Connelly, Executive Director of the Family Health Team Downtown of Toronto, who has spent more than four decades working with marginalized populations.

When you think about the cost of healthcare for people who have had a stroke at an early age, you can imagine that this alone can have all sorts of ripple effects on the healthcare system.she says.

An infected tooth that leads to hospitalizations

Ottawa resident Shane Mckenzie has learned the hard way how serious a simple dental problem can become. In her case, an infection led directly to urgent medical care and a lengthy hospital stay.

In the spring of 2016, while working in construction in Northern Ontario, this 30-year-old began to feel pain in one of his molars. Although he has dental coverage, Mckenzie did not have access to a nearby dentist, so he waited to return to Ottawa a month later to have his tooth pulled.

I guess it was too latehe remembers, because it got infected and got into my bloodstream.

Mr. Mckenzie developed a fever and other flu-like symptoms. In July 2016, while staying with his mother, he collapsed in the bathroom. She called 911. This event marked the beginning of what was to become a years-long ordeal.

When he arrived at a local hospital, he was put into an induced coma and woke up about a week and a half later.

It was then that he learned the sad reality: he was suffering from sepsis, an often fatal disease that occurs when an unusual and powerful bodily reaction to an infection begins to damage a person’s tissues.

Mr. Mckenzie’s feet became necrotic, and half of his arms too. He ended up being admitted to an intensive care unit. He stayed there for a month. He had to undergo dialysis to get his kidneys working and several surgeries.

He then spent an entire year in his early 30s in a long-term care home that typically cares for the elderly and veterans.

And all because of a tooth infectiondid he declare.

Speaking to CBC News from his home, Mr Mckenzie explained that he no longer had fingers on his left hand and was now missing a large part of his right hand. He also needed a below knee amputation on his right leg and is missing toes on his left foot.

When I woke up from a coma they said if I was older I might not have survivedhe remembers.

So for seniors, not having dental care is really scary when you think about it.

$1.5 billion per year

Pricing for the Liberal-NDP dental plan may be revealed in the federal budget due in early April, but previous proposals from the New Democratic Party have already been reviewed and costed.

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The agreement between the Liberals of Justin Trudeau (left) and the NDP of Jagmeet Singh could mean that a public program of dental care will be set up.

Photo: Radio-Canada

A 2020 Parliamentary Budget Officer analysis estimated the cost of such a program at $1.3 billion in the year after the plan was announced, and $4.3 billion in the next. first year of operation of the plan. The program would then cost about $1.5 billion a year until 2025.

Its advocates point out that these investments would avoid some of the financial burden on emergency room teams.

In Canada, an estimated 1% of all emergency department visits in a given year are made by patients with non-emergency dental conditions, such as toothaches or cavities.

In 2017, an analysis based on dental-related emergency room visits in British Columbia published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health suggested that this 1% figure translates to nearly $155 million paid by taxpayers in that province alone. province.

But the vast majority of these visits are not processed. Oral problem probably persists, so taxpayers’ money is wastedwrote dentists Dr. Mario Brondani and Dr. Syed H. Ahmad.

According to Dr. Gaibrie Stephen, an emergency physician in the Toronto area, hospital medical teams are not equipped to deal with all cases of dental pain. However, these problems often worsen and cause people to come back for help or even become seriously ill. These situations can lead to longer and more expensive hospital stays.

In Ontario, the total cost of an average hospital stay for sepsis in adults aged 18 to 59 – similar to what Mr Mckenzie experienced – can range from around $12,000 to over $25. $000, according to figures provided to Radio-Canada News by the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

In emergency rooms, when patients present with dental pain, all i can do in these situations is prescribe antibiotics or painkillers said Dr. Stephen.

Improving Provincial Programs

In a statement, the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) questioned whether the Liberal and New Democrat approach was the best way to improve access to dental care. I’Canadian Dental Association pointed out that it will be important to ensure that any new initiatives do not disrupt access to dental care for the vast majority of Canadians who already have dental coverage through employer-provided health benefits.

The best way to quickly improve oral health and increase access to dental care is to invest in and improve existing provincial and territorial dental programscontinues the statement of theCanadian Dental Association.

These programs are grossly underfunded and are almost exclusively funded by provincial and territorial governments.

There is indeed a disparate approach across the country, and not all procedures are covered equally across provinces.

Comprehensive coverage for preventative care in particular would be helpful, according to Barrie resident Langdon, as avoiding going to the dentist can lead to further health complications.

In my opinion, providing comprehensive coverage for dental care and preventive care would save our health care system significant savings. did he declare.

With information from CBC News

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