A new agreement is giving Saskatchewan residents access to an increased number of insured dental services. The new agreement between the Ministry of Health and the College of Dental Surgeons of Saskatchewan, includes, cleft lip and palate treatment services for infants; children and adolescents; expanded coverage for dental extractions; and, specialized dental consultations for medical patients.

The expanded services will be included under the insured service payment schedule, which is used by approximately 80 credentialed dental specialists and surgeons in the province, according the Ministry of Health. The payment schedule is a list of fee codes, their descriptions, amounts and any limitations for billing.

In response to the insured coverage changes, a two per cent increase for dental surgical and specialty fees will be applied and billed to the Medical Services Branch on a fee for service basis, from the dental professionals.

Currently the cost of moldings for a large unilateral cleft lip and palate for an infant (less than six months of age), is estimated at $4500 per infant, whereas a molding for a bilateral cleft lip and palate is estimated at $6000 per infant. Additionally, the estimated the annual cost for other cleft lip and palate services for infants, children and adolescents, is approximately $80,000.

Under the previous agreement, dental extractions were included under the insured services list if, the extraction of teeth was necessary to be performed before the provision of heart surgey services, services for chronic renal disease, head and neck cancer services, or services for total joint replacement by prosthesis. The Ministry of Health stated that this list of conditions has been expanded, “to include coverage for dental extractions related to cancer treatments prior to stem cell transplant or as a result of cancer radiation treatment, which, in some instances, can cause damage to teeth”.

The specialized consultations for medical patients pertain to in-hospital consultations where the circumstances of the injury require a dental specialist or surgeon to provide their expertise.

The Ministry of Health said the changes come after a negotiation process to ensure more patients are getting the help they need. The new fee schedule is set to take effect, April 1, 2019.

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