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
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.