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Cost of Dental Care in Quebec: Going to the Dentist should not be a Luxury

Montreal, 8 May 2019 – A study by IRIS revealed last year that over one in four adults in Quebec go without dental care because of its excessive cost. In response to this alarming situation, the Fight for Health Committee of the Pointe-Saint-Charles Community Clinic has made access to dental care its priority in 2019.

Greater RAMQ Coverage of Dental Care

The Community Clinic demands improved public coverage of dental care. Dental care is essential to good health.

“Like many others in the health field, we want RAMQ to cover all dental care,” explained Stéphane Defoy, a community organizer for the Pointe-Saint-Charles Community Clinic. “However, given the urgency of the situation, it is imperative that the ministry of health and social services (MSSS) take a first step before the end of 2019. All dental care for youth of 18 and under and for seniors of 65 and over must be covered by the public system. The health of our children and elderly is at stake!”

Currently, dental care for children is only covered by the public system if they are under ten. Moreover, only curative care (examinations, fillings, etc.) is covered for this age group; preventive work (cleaning, dental sealants, etc.) is not.

“For the elderly, the situation is even more disastrous,” added Mr. Defoy. “Like all adults in Quebec, they must pay the entire amount demanded by dental clinics out of their own pocket. The Legault government’s priority is to improve the living conditions of people 65 and over. Including dental care in the services covered by the public system would represent a concrete and immediate step to improving their health conditions.”

Price Lists like Medical Clinics

Many community members report that it is perpetually difficult to know how much they will have to pay for a visit to the dental clinic. Geneviève McCready, a member of the Fight for Health Committee, points out that medical clinics are already required by regulation to list the prices they bill patients for care and services not covered by public healthcare.

“Why aren’t dental clinics required to list their fees?” she asked. “We demand that MSSS adopt a regulation requiring dental clinics to display their fees in an understandable way so that the public is informed before spending often astronomical sums for examinations or surgeries.”

An Accessible Guide for All

To help the public better look after its dental health and make related choices, the Community Clinic is using this opportunity to publicly release a Routine dental care: a simplified guide (click here). Created with the help of dental hygienists from the organization, this short guide aims to make sense of dental care in Quebec.

“The vocabulary used in dentistry is really confusing to ordinary folk,” said Houda Feguery of the Fight for Health Committee. “We hope this tool will facilitate a better understanding of this complex universe. We also take the opportunity to provide the public with an overview of fees charged for routine dental care so they can make informed choices.”

The Community Clinic believes these demands represent a first step towards greater public coverage of dental care. Insufficient dental care often leads to other health problems, even to greater loss of autonomy for the elderly, and invariably increases costs to the health and social service systems. By proactively addressing these problems, we will collectively gain improved dental health in Quebec.

In the coming months, the Community Clinic will broaden the movement to protest the disproportionate amounts the public is asked to spend to take care of its teeth. The Clinic considers the fight for greater access to dental care as central to improving overall healthcare in Quebec.

Source:

Stéphane Defoy, community organizer
Pointe-Saint-Charles Community Clinic
Cell phone: 438 822-8298
stephane.defoy.psch@ssss.gouv.qc.ca

Geneviève Lambert-Pilotte, communications officer
Pointe-Saint-Charles Community Clinic
Telephone: 514 937-9251, poste 7239

Press review

L'actualité, Accessibilité: demande pour élargir la couverture publique des soins dentaires, 8 mai 2019.

AREQ, L’AREQ est prête à collaborer avec la Clinique communautaire de Pointe-Saint-Charles pour assurer des soins buccodentaires accessibles aux personnes aînées, 8 mai 2019.

CTV News (vidéo), Access to dental care needs to be a priority: Pointe-St-Charles health activists, 8 mai 2019.

La Presse, Il faut élargir la couverture publique des soins dentaires, plaide une clinique, 8 mai 2019.

Journal Métro, Accessibilité: demande pour élargir la couverture publique des soins dentaires, 8 mai 2019.

Montreal Gazette, It’s time to expand public dental care in Quebec, health clinic says, 8 mai 2019.

Radio 107,7 FM Estrie, Midi actualité avec Martin Pelletier, 8 mai 2019.