Federal public dental services funding doubled

The Federal Government will provide the largest Commonwealth investment in public dental services to ensure all children and adults with concession cards who need it most do not fall through the cracks.


Minister for Health Sussan Ley today announced the creation of a standalone national “Child and Adult Public Dental Scheme” (caPDS) as part of reforms, which will provide over 10 million Australians with access to public dental services through one single national agreement with the states and territories.


The new scheme will commence on 1 July 2016.


It will represent a doubling of the Commonwealth’s current contribution to the states and territories for public dental services, and for the first time, will be enshrined in legislation to provide long-term certainty for current and future generations.


In return, the Federal Government will seek to ensure all children under 18 (5.3 million) are eligible for Federal Government-subsidised public dental coverage through the new scheme, as well as each of the five million-plus low-income adults holding a Commonwealth concession card.


The new scheme will provide an expanded range of Commonwealth-subsidised, clinically-necessary services for under 18s that are not covered under current CDBS arrangements.


"We are significantly increasing Commonwealth investment in frontline public dental services and we expect the result to be an extra 600,000 public dental patients treated every year as a direct result,” Ms Ley said.


"That’s because we know that poor dental health can negatively impact on every aspect of a person's life from their health and wellbeing through to employment and economic opportunities. After all, poor dental health is the third highest cause of preventable hospital admissions, with more than 63,000 Australians hospitalised each year.


"It's therefore essential we have a strong national public dental scheme that is there to support those who need it most and leaves no gaps in services, no matter where people live in Australia or the condition of their teeth.”


Ms Ley said the Government would invest a total of about $5 billion over the next four years improving dental outcomes. This will include a total of $2.1 billionfor a five year agreement with the states and territories to fund the caPDS.


To support this, the Turnbull Government will establish a national efficient price for dental procedures as part of the caPDS – much like those already used to determine hospital funding – as well as giving the states and territories the flexibility to contract private dentists where services gaps arise.


In addition to public funding, Ms Ley said the Government would also continue to invest heavily over the next four years in supporting dental patients through other means such as the private health rebate, Medicare-funded in-hospital dental services, and dental infrastructure in rural and remote Australia.


The new Child and Adult Public Dental Scheme (caPDS) will replace the current Child Dental Benefits Scheme and adult dental National Partnership Agreement.


Find out more about the caPDS at http://www.health.gov.au/dental.


See also the article Holes in new Commonwealth dental investment.


23 April 2016.