Public health officials say low-income children are not getting the dental care they need after changes to the childhood dental program.
In April, the province changed the income requirements for families to receive preventative care to allow 70,000 more children to receive treatment. In Lambton County, only 19 more children qualified under the new rules according to Charlene McMahon, manager of family health.
She adds that 91 children were in need of treatment but didn’t meet the new financial requirements. “The minister mad public comments that the province was going to ensure that no one falls through the gaps and no one is going to lose the service they have now,” she says.
But McMahon says public health officials are losing their discretion on who can and cannot receive treatment. She adds if public health could intervene earlier it would avoid more costly problems later.
Warden Bev MacDougall agreed. “The province is looking for ways to save money but if you avoid the costs at this point (early on) the costs escalate down the road.”
Lambton County will write a letter to the province expressing concern about the changes to the system and how lower income children are still in need of service.