Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Senate Inquiry Report into Private Health Insurance - A win for dental patients and practitioners

The Australian Dental Association congratulates the Senate Community Affairs References Committee for recommending much-needed legislative and policy change to help put an end to the unfair and anticompetitive practices of private health insurers in the dental services market and dental insurance space.

“The Senate Committee’s report into the value and affordability of private health insurance and out-of-pocket costs, released today, represents a major win for dentists and consumers”, said ADA Federal President, Dr Hugo Sachs.

“Along with the ADA, and organisations representing specialist dentists, over 160 dentists made submissions to the Inquiry, expressing concerns about the impact of private health fund practices on dental patients, and dental health care provision.”

“We applaud the Committee for addressing many of the ADA’s concerns and making recommendations to ensure greater transparency, genuine choice of provider and equitable rebates for dental consumers, and a fairer, more level competitive playing field for dental health care providers”, he added.

“In particular, the ADA applauds the Committee’s recommendation that the Private Health Insurance Act be amended to prohibit private health funds from paying lower rebates to policy holders whose preferred healthcare provider is not in a contract arrangement with their health fund”.

Find out more
Read the overview and media release on the ADA website 
View Senate Inquiry Report on the Parliament of Australia website 

Friday, December 15, 2017

CDBS amendments take effect 1 January 2018

The Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt had advised the ADA that a number of changes to the CDBS have been finalised and will take effect on 1 January 2018. These changed affect the following services and item numbers:

Diagnostic and Preventive Services

Item numbers 88012, 88111, 88114 and 88121 have been amended to allow patients to receive their treatment once every five months instead of six monthly. 

This is in response to calls from the ADA that parents need to align children’s appointments with school holidays.  A maximum of two per calendar year will still apply.

The same rule will apply in relation to the allowable time between a comprehensive oral examination (88011) and a periodic examination (88012).  The period between examinations has been reduced to five months again to allow patients to be seen at a more convenient time but use of the item number 88012 remains capped at two in any given calendar year.

Item number 88111 – removal of plaque now encompasses removal of plaque from both teeth and implants.

Restorative Services

Item number 88586 has been revised as follows:

88586 Crown – metallic – with tooth preparation – preformed $257.00
Placing a preformed metallic crown as a coronal restoration for a tooth 

In addition, a new item number has been added to reflect where there is minimal or no restoration of the tooth required.

88587 Crown – metallic – minimal tooth preparation – preformed $152.50
Placing a preformed metallic crown as a coronal restoration for a tooth and where minimal or no restoration of the tooth is required. Commonly referred to as a ‘Hall’ crown.

Prosthodontic Services

Two new item numbers have been added to align with the 12th edition of the Australian Schedule of Dental Services and Glossary.

88723 Provisional partial maxillary denture  $327.45
88724 Provisional partial mandibular denture $327.45

These item numbers provide for the supply of new provisional dentures to one upper and one lower denture per patient however, permanent dentures cannot then be provided and attract a rebate within six months.

Items 88731 88733, 88736 and 88741 have been subsequently amended to recognise the inclusion of the two new item numbers above.

The rebates for item numbers 88721 and item 88722 have been increased to $436.60 up from $322.95.

However, the frequency with which these services are rebated remain limited to one every two years.

The changes have resulted in a reduction to the rebate for item number 88733 which has been reduced from $67.00 to $36.15.

If you have any questions about the changes, please contact the ADAVB on 8825 4600.


Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Prevention works. VicHealth announces VicHealth Award winners and Champions

VicHealth has recognised Victoria's greatest health promotion projects for their efforts to improve the health and wellbeing of Victorians at the annual VicHealth Awards held last night.

Amongst the 14 project winners, Ballarat Health Services won the healthy eating category for their project that encouraged the local community to choose water over sugary drinks:

WATER – THE DRINK OF CHOICE - Ballarat Health Services: Primary Care and Population Health Advisory Committee with City of Ballarat, Ballarat Community Health, Central Highlands Primary Care Partnership, St John of God Ballarat Hospital, Western Victoria Primary Health Network, YMCA Ballarat.

ADAVB CEO Matthew Hopcraft was recognised as a VicHealth Champion, honoured amongst an inspiring list of awardees from a range of organisations.

VicHealth has been a champion of good health for all Victorians for over 30 years, working to keep people healthy, happy and well - preventing chronic disease and keeping people out of the medical system.

Together with a wide range of organisations, including the ADAVB, VicHealth  strives to find solutions to complex health promotion issues in key areas including:

  • promoting health eating
  • encouraging regular physical activity
  • preventing smoking
  • preventing harm from alcohol
  • improving mental health

International studies cited by VicHealth show that every dollar invested in prevention can save over $5 in health spending.

View VicHealth Award winners:

Find out more about VicHealth:

Photo: Clinical Assoc/Prof Matthew Hopcraft and health promotion pioneer and inaugural chair of VicHealth, Sir Gustav Nossal.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Health Ministers delay taking action on added sugar labelling - again

The ADAVB is disappointed that Health Ministers delayed making a decision about added sugar labelling when they met at the Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation last week.

Health advocates and consumer groups have been calling for added sugar labelling to be legislated to make it easier for consumers to understand how much added sugar is in food and drinks. A recent campaign by Choice Australia, supported by the Australian Dental Association, resulted in over 20,000 consumers contacting their Health Minister to urge them to make the right decision about added sugar labelling.

“This is a disappointing outcome from Health Ministers who are yet again siding with the food and beverage industry and delaying making a decision on added sugar labelling,” says ADAVB CEO A/Prof Matthew Hopcraft. “They’ve had plenty of opportunities to take action and this delay means that Australian consumers still have no idea how much added sugar they are consuming.”

The World Health Organisation reviewed the evidence that links added sugar consumption to a range of health problems, including tooth decay, overweight and obesity and type II diabetes, and made recommendations to reduce added or free sugar consumption to less than 12 teaspoons per day, and ideally less than 6 teaspoons. Australians are currently consuming on average 14 teaspoons of added sugar per day, and teenagers are consuming 22 teaspoons on average per day. 

“The decision by Health Ministers to protect the interests of the food and beverage industry will deny consumers the opportunity to easily meet this target, and over-consumption of sugar will continue to have a negative impact on Australians’ dental health,” says A/Prof Hopcraft.

“Other countries have successfully implemented similar measures, so this decision demonstrates the unhealthy influence that industry has over respective State and Federal governments.”

Clearer labelling means consumers can make informed choices about what they are eating and drinking. We encourage Australians to urge Health Ministers to stop this unacceptable delay in legislating added sugar labelling by visiting the CHOICE campaign website: sugar.

Tell your Health Minister you won’t stand for more delays on this important public health initiative.