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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 19(3)

Role of the Chronic Dental Disease Scheme in Enhanced Primary Care: allied health or allied outlier?

Raymond Lam A, Estie Kruger A B and Marc Tennant A

A Centre for Rural and Remote Oral Health, The University of Western Australia, Nedlands, WA 6009, Australia.
B Corresponding author. Email: ekruger@crroh.uwa.edu.au

Australian Journal of Primary Health 19(3) 228-235 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/PY12073
Submitted: 4 April 2012  Accepted: 26 June 2012   Published: 28 August 2012

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This study aims to provide a comparative analysis of the Chronic Dental Disease Scheme (CDSS) and the Allied Health Profession (AHP) program as they related to the greater Enhanced Primary Care Scheme introduced by the Australian Government to manage patients with chronic and complex diseases. A retrospective analysis of data pertaining to Medicare items related to dentistry and the allied health professions were extracted from the Medicare Benefits Schedule database online, and formed the basis of this study. The highest proportion of services was provided in the state of New South Wales. There appears to be synergy in the utilisation of services with jurisdictions either overutilising or underutilising services. Costs to the Enhanced Primary Care Scheme under the CDSS model (fee for service) were up to 40 times more expensive compared with the AHP model (fee per visit). Costs and treatment associated with the CDSS experienced an increase of 13 350% during the period 2007–08, coincident with an increase in subsidisation. Reconstructive dentistry accounted for the majority of the increase. Gender disparities in dentistry were less distinct when compared with AHPs and were postulated to be due to males presenting with conditions that were more progressive requiring more invasive treatment. A comparative analysis indicates significant differences in costs, nature of treatment and the manner of remuneration between dentistry and the AHPs. A fee for service schedule as evidenced by the CDSS is dependent on the degree of financial incentive as indicated by patterns in utilisation over time. The amount of treatment considered necessary may be influenced by the level of subsidy with treatment that may not reflect disease management. The AHP model, which is based around a fee for visit schedule, is not without its deficiencies but has not experienced significant rises in cost compared with the CDSS.

Additional keywords: dentistry, public health.


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