ADEA State Update

Quebec Dentists Fighting Court Order to Remain in Province’s Public Health System

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The Association Des Chirurgiens Dentistes du Québec (ACDQ, the Association of Dental Surgeons of Quebec) is contesting a ministerial decree forcing dentists in the province to continue providing care through the province’s public system.

The ACDQ, which represents 4,300 dentists in Quebec, has not had a contract with the province’s publicly funded health care system for three years. On July 5, ACDQ issued an ultimatum that it would withdraw its dentists from the public system by the end of August if their demands were not met. The central issue is a dispute over reimbursement rates. Dentists have claimed that for every dollar dentists bill the public system, they are reimbursed 67 cents for operating expenses, about 20–25% less than private insurance reimbursement rates.

Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette has proposed increasing reimbursement to match the rate of inflation. Dr. Serge Langlois, President of the ACDQ, rejects this and believes that higher reimbursement rates are required to make treatment sustainable.

On July 26, Minister Barrette issued a decree that bars nearly 2,000 dentists from withdrawing from the province’s public health system and requires the dentists to treat patients under 10 years old and those receiving welfare—about 620,000 individuals in Quebec. The decree binds the dentists to stay within the public system until 2020.

Dr. Langlois said the association’s dentist members in the meantime will continue to offer care free of cost to those eligible while the issue is addressed in court.

Duggan Dental