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News Bulletin : ADA News Bulletin June 2011
9 JUNE 20 11 The following points highlight initiatives, continuing programs and cuts within the 2011--12 Federal Budget related to dental health. Federal Treasurer, Wayne Swan, announced that the 2011--12 Budget is an introduction to major dental health reform ahead of the 2012--13 Budget. The Australian Dental Association Inc. (ADA) is pleased that the Federal Government is taking the ADA's concerns seriously. The ADA's DentalAccess policy outlines the key dental health issues facing Australia and how they should be addressed. The DentalAccess policy was first developed in 2009 and must be used as a key platform ahead of the Federal Government's plan to introduce major dental reform in next year's budget. Voluntary Dental Internship Year -- NEW During the 2011--12 period, the Federal Government plans to develop a voluntary 'dental internship year' program to take effect from 2013. This is intended to provide dental graduates with a structured and supported transition to a 'dental practice program' which will help participants consolidate and expand on their skills while enhancing service delivery capacity -- particularly within the public sector. As per Budget estimates, $53.1m of funding over three years will be provided for development of the new program. Since precise details of how this initiative is to be conducted are yet to be developed, the ADA looks forward to working with the Federal Government in ensuring its successful implementation. One of the key requirements the ADA will be seeking is to ensure that the dental internship year provides an educative program for participants and is not used solely to solve workforce shortages in the public sector. Medicare Chronic Disease Dental Scheme -- CEASING The Federal Government will again seek to close this program (after two earlier attempts failed) and redirect funding to introduce the Commonwealth Dental Health Program (CDHP). No precise detail surrounding the replacement program has been announced. Because of this, the ADA remains concerned that closure of the Chronic Disease Dental Scheme may leave patients currently accessing the Scheme without any further support for their dental care. National Advisory Council on Dental Health -- NEW A National Advisory Council on Dental Health (NACDH) will be established to provide advice to the Minister for Health and Ageing on options to address identified priority areas for dental health. The Council will be a non-statutory, time-limited body and will be expected to meet around four times during 2011--12. As the leading voice in dental practice and dental health delivery, the ADA will seek to become a key member of the Council so as to provide practical advice based on its members' experience in this area and in so doing help address the key issues facing access to dental care in Australia. Commonwealth Dental Health Program -- NEW Under this initiative, the Federal Government will fund State and Territory Governments for up to one million additional public dental services over three years. States and Territories will be required to provide nationally comparable health data as part of the funding agreement that will be used to develop future improvements to public dental services. While additional visits under the proposed CDHP will be provided in the public sector, precisely how that will be achieved is not specified. The ADA's contribution to the NACDH will hopefully provide government with the solution to the problem of access to dental care in Australia -- namely the ADA's DentalAccess. Teen Dental Plan -- CONTINUING The Teen Dental Plan supplies a voucher that provides up to $159.85 towards specified dental treatment per eligible teenager between 12--17 years of age per annum in families receiving Family Tax Benefit Part A, or teenagers receiving Youth Allowance, Abstudy, Disability Support Pension, Parenting Payment, Special Benefit, Carer Payment, Double Orphan Pension or support under certain veterans' education and training assistance schemes. The Federal Government expects to achieve targeted increase in the uptake of the vouchers by 3% each year between now and 2015, which would be equal to around 1.3 million vouchers/calendar year. Despite shortcomings in the Teen Dental Plan, the ADA says it is crucial that eligible young Australians continue to receive support to access dental care. It remains critical that the Plan provides only limited services and does not provide for delivery of dental solutions to problems identified in the check. The ADA sees the Teen Dental Plan as an investment in Australia's future oral health. The ADA's DentalAccess policy outlines the key dental health issues facing Australia and how they should be addressed. The policy was first developed in 2009 and must be used as a key platform ahead of the Federal Government's plan to introduce major dental reform in next year's budget. Source: National Dental Update, May 2011. The ADA National Dental Update is a monthly publication distributed to politicians and opinion leaders. Other issues can be viewed at www.ada.org.au FEDERAL BUDGET REVIEW national dental update
ADA News Bulletin May 2011
ADA News Bulletin July 2011