On the morning of Tuesday, February 16th, 2016, Dr. Carlo Biasucci, owner of Northern Dental Care, made an extremely important announcement at a recent all-team meeting. Just a few short months after disappointingly having to cancel their Dentistry From the Heart event due to unforeseen circumstances, this good-news announcement helped to lift the spirits of all 35 staff members employed at the Sault Ste. Marie dental office. Effective immediately, Northern Dental Care will now accept all insurance including Government plans such as Ontario Disability, Ontario Works, and Healthy Smiles plans.
The truth of the matter is, Ontario and more specifically, Sault Ste. Marie, has not been an easy place to access dental care for those on Government assisted insurance plans. As quoted in an article written by local blog, NorthernHoot, on December 3rd, 2015, Dr. Biasucci explained the struggle with the Government funding programs.
“All government plans are very limited, and most (OW, ODSP, Children In Need of Treatment) pay about half of the current fees. A comment we often hear is that ‘it’s all about the money’ – the reality is that the average dental practice has an overhead of 75%, so every dollar that comes in, 75 cents goes to pay the bills. If a plan pays 50 cents of that dollar, it’s a loss – how many people would pay to go to work? So the shortfall comes from dentist’s willingness to see patients in their office at their discretion, and all of us do.” writes Biasucci.
An incredible number to note, while quickly looking at the city’s statistics, describes possibly upwards of 25% Sault Ste. Marie’s population is currently categorized under low-income, poverty, or unemployment. There is no telling how high this percentage may reach; with the city’s largest employer, Essar Steel, facing the issues that it is.
And while the Government plans have expanded last month to accommodate more in need, (6 programs have combined into the Healthy Smiles Program to accommodate thousands of children from eligible low income families), Dr. Biasucci believes there is still a long way to go.
“There is no comment on whether the reimbursement rates will change. I hope they will,” writes Biasucci. “Including dentistry under the healthcare umbrella will not be feasible due to the sheer cost, and if the fees are grossly undermined to accomplish that, then it’s a mess – in healthcare most physicians practice in clinics or hospitals where all the equipment and overhead is paid by the taxpayer. In dentistry, it’s all paid for by the dentist – it’s completely different, it’s basically private healthcare.”
And with only the small changes with the Government plans but an increased need for accessible healthcare, Dr. Biasucci and the staff wanted to evolve Northern Dental Care to meet this need.
“As a healthcare provider in the private sector, we had to evolve our office systems to meet the needs of those without access to dental care – all while still managing to stay profitable,” says Aleigha Mclean, a staff member at Northern Dental Care. “There has been minimal change on the Government’s end with funding. But the poverty and unemployment problems, along with many other issues, are increasing. So we needed to be the ones to change.”
Northern Dental Care is open extended hours, Monday to Saturday 8:30am-6pm to accommodate your family’s busy schedule, has a dedicated afterhours emergency line that can be used by patients and non-patients alike, has multiple dentists and specialists in house, and payment plans / financing available.
To schedule your family’s visits, call 705-575-7572 or email [email protected]. Please visit www.northerndentalcare.com for more information about the office and don’t forget to “like” them on Facebook! www.facebook.com/northerndentalcare