Durham Region Health Department is reminding area seniors to connect with the Health Department to determine eligibility for the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program (OSDCP) before going to a dentist. Individuals 65 and older can obtain an application online or contact the Health Department to have one mailed to them. Applications are approved by the province based on annual tax returns. Once a senior has been approved for the program, they can come to the Health Department dental clinic for treatment. If seniors choose to obtain services from private dental offices, claims cannot be submitted through OSDCP for payment.

“While the OSDCP offers comprehensive dental care for people over 65-years old who are considered low income, the program is only delivered through local public health units,” explained Dr. Patricia Abbey, Director, Oral Health with Durham Region Health Department. “Therefore, we are not able to reimburse patients or dental offices for treatment provided that the Health Department has not preapproved.”

The OSCDP is 100 per cent funded by the province of Ontario and is designed to improve access to dental care for low income seniors. There is a hard-financial cap of $19,300 for single seniors and $32,300 for seniors who are part of a couple. There are no dental needs criteria for enrollment. Since the OSDCP was launched in October 2019, the Health Department has provided treatment to over 500 eligible seniors and has continued to organize emergency care with community partners for clients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We want to confirm that all eligible individuals are able to access this valuable program to have their dental needs taken care of,” Dr. Abbey said. “It is very important that seniors contact us first to find out about the program before seeing a dentist. If the Health Department receives claims for treatment that have not been approved, these claims will be declined.”

For more information on the Health Department’s Oral Health program, visit durham.ca/oralhealth or to determine eligibility for the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program or other provincial support programs for dental care needs, please call Durham Health Connection Line at 905-668-2020 or 1-800-841-2729.

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Bryen writes about local Durham community news, including regional events, municipality updates, entertainment, lifestyle, and the great outdoors. Email him directly if you want your business profiled or know a community member that deserves recognition - bryen@thelocalbizmagazine.com