Health unit expecting to help 1,700 local seniors with dental care 

By Kirk Winter

Health unit expecting to help 1,700 local seniors with dental care 

Are you a senior of modest means living in Kawartha Lakes in need of dental care? The Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge Health Unit may have a program for you.

The recently launched program will give seniors without health insurance access to anything from preventative dental care to full dental services right here in Kawartha Lakes.

Pam Stuckless, director of health promotions for the HKPR Health Unit, shared background on the program with the board during a virtual meeting on Dec. 3.

“In April of 2019, the province announced funding for the development and launch of a low-income seniors’ dental program called the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program or OSDCP,” Stuckless said.

“At least two-thirds of low-income seniors do not have access to dental insurance in Ontario,” Stuckless added, “and we believe there are at least 4,000 seniors in the HKPR District who could be eligible. We expect upwards of 1,700 eligible seniors to access this program.”

The eligibility and enrollment protocols have been kept as straightforward as possible.  To qualify you must be an Ontarian aged 65 and over with a net income of $19,300 or less or a couple with a combined annual income of $32,300 or less, and without existing dental benefits.

The application process is done by hard copy or online through the local health unit. Public health units and local Community Health Centres are available to assist clients to navigate the application process and access the services they specifically need.

Since its introduction, the City of Kawartha Lakes Community Health Centre has had 159 visits and the Port Hope centre has had 43 visits from enrolled seniors seeking dental care.

Services available to seniors who qualify are extensive and include: examinations and assessments, preventative services, restorative services to repair broken teeth and cavities, X-rays, oral surgery, anaesthesia, endontic services to treat infection and pain, periodontal services to treat gum conditions and diseases, and prosthodontic services  including dentures will be partially covered.

This program, funded 100 per cent by the provincial government, has provided capital funding to HKPR of $516,000 to make the program possible and allow improvements to facilities in Kawartha Lakes and Port Hope.

“In the HKPR area we are fortunate to have two CHCs that provide dental services, hence the model in HKPR includes the health unit for preventative services, and the CHCs for full dental services,” said Chandra Tremblay, manager of corporate services for the health unit.

If you are a senior who qualifies and requires dental assistance more information is available by contacting the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577.

Community Care City of Kawartha Lakes also operates a dental clinic for people with lower incomes, or just people who do not carry any dental insurance. It is supported by individual and corporate donors, as well as the United Way for the City of Kawartha Lakes.

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