12 May The alarming rising costs of private health funds and deregulation of dental clinics
Two issues have been taking space and time in the Dental profession; one of them is the unending stories related to the Health Funds and the second one is pretty new – that is the further deregulation of the Business of Dentistry.
On the topic of Health Funds…
If you have full insurance , extras included, then you are aware of the rising costs especially associated with the so-called “Extras”. If we pay more, we deserve more. That is a logical way of thinking. Unfortunately it doesn’t apply to private insurance, no matter how big the publicity and how twisted the statistics.
There are some undeniable facts; the Health Funds Clinics didn’t use to charge gaps. Now they do.
They used to do the work themselves. Today they refer you to a Preferred Provider. It sounds good to the patient – just remember that the Funds dictate the fees charged.
However, the dentist needs to make some money, which means they will give you less time to provide any form of service.
Funds Clinics are not replacing the Dentists that are leaving their own Clinics. So, the members pay more, receive less, are told where to go and Dentists are told how much to charge.
The same situation doesn’t happen in Medicine and the reality is that Dentists do not have enough leverage to make the situation any better, and the options are not very promising either.
The second issue is that very soon, Hygienists and Dental Therapists will be able to open their own Clinics and will be able to work independent from a Dentist or a Dental Clinic.
In the past, only Dentists could own a Dental Practice.
A deregulatory wave allowed any member of the community or any enterprise to own and operate a Dental Clinic. Dental Hygienists and therapists could only work under the wing of a Dentist or Dental Clinic. However, this is about to change.
We all resist change. It is human nature and this is not the exception. The thinking is that more services available, then fees will go down.
History is a good teacher and when the previous deregulation took place, prices didn’t go down. Could it be different this time? Perhaps at the beginning… until it is realised how intricate and expensive is to run a Dental Practice.
We might soon see reverse employment roles and wouldn’t be surprised seeing Dental Cleaning sessions in the back room of a Cosmetic Clinic or Children’s teeth extracted in a Foot Spa Salon.
We hope changes are for the better and more services available are offered at a better price in a safe environment.
Until the next Blog…