Firstly, a word from our sponsors, The Queensland Government: It is, admittedly old and out of date, but it IS on their facebook page, so let us work with what we have… Skip to the bottom for the latest news and an audio interview with our dentist….HERE
The facebook link: HERE
Dental vouchers explained
Queensland Health has moved to explain how public dental services work in Queensland after media reports left many people confused.
The confusion largely related to people, particularly seniors, wanting dental vouchers that paid for their treatment in the private sector.
A new Queensland Health scheme can give eligible public dental patients on a waiting list in Queensland the option to have procedures done by a private dentist.
Chief Dental Officer Dr Rhys Thomas said hundreds of Queenslanders had complained about the scheme after being led to believe anyone could get a voucher.
“We’ve had people go to the dentist and then try and claim hundreds of dollars back because they believed they were entitled to a refund,” he said.
“They were then left out of pocket when they realised they weren’t eligible, which is obviously very frustrating for everyone involved.
“So we ask that members of the public, the media, and dentists in both the public and private sector familiarise themselves with how the public system actually works,” Dr Thomas said.
For adults to access free oral health care from the public system they must be a Queensland resident and where applicable, in receipt of benefits from either a:
• Pensioner Concession Card issued by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs or Centrelink
• Health Care Card
• Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
• Queensland Seniors Card
For residents issued with these cards and currently receiving benefits, any dependants named on the card are also eligible for free dental care. Also eligible is any child in the guardianship of the Director-General, Department of Families, Youth and Community Care.
The National Partnership Agreement (NPA) on Treating More Public Dental Patients allocated $13.5 million in 2012-2013 for Queensland to address the problem of growing dental waiting lists. This amount was boosted with a Queensland Government commitment of $39 million in 2013-2014.
“Hospital and Health Services in Queensland mostly used this funding to pay for patients on the dental waiting list to receive dental treatment at private dental practices,” Dr Thomas said.
“Local Hospital and Health Services determine which patients can receive a voucher – unfortunately not everyone will be able to participate in this scheme.
“I recommend people speak to their local public dental clinic to discuss their placement on the waiting list and their eligibility for the voucher scheme before visiting a dentist,” he said.
At 30 September, almost 60,000 people have received a voucher this year, including 31,000 people requiring urgent care, 24,000 people waiting for a check-up and 1,500 people waiting for a denture.
Persons not fitting the criteria listed above should seek dental care from a private dental practitioner.
To find your nearest public dental clinic contact visitwww.health.qld.gov.au/oralhealth/services/adult.asp
I’ve been doing some follow up on the dental vouchers and
I’ve found out that the issue sits with Federal Government
and a reduction of funding – no surprises there! The Commonwealth Government plays a significant role in funding public dental services but the current National Partnership Agreement on public Dental Services for Adults resulted in an $8.7M reduction (approximately 30%) in annual funding for Queensland in 2017-18, compared to the 2015-16 financial year.
The Minister will be releasing a press release soon so I will make sure you get it.
And so, as soon as Stephanie gets it to me, I’ll get it to you. Oh, according to our local dentist, Dr Brandon, there is no chance of the surgery closing. In fact he has another dentist on staff.
Speaking of our good Dr Dentist, here is the conversation I had with him earlier this month. Again, I’m in rumour squashing mode. The practice is doing fine and there is now a second Dentist, Ricki whom I met. Interestingly,
Brandon mentioned 30% to 40% of the Islands use the voucher system!
Turn the volume UP ALL THE WAY…