CLHIA calls for further action following release of Alberta dental fee guide

While the new Alberta dental fee guide published last week is a “step in the right direction,” more changes are required to bring dental fees down to reasonable levels in the province, according to the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association.

Given that dental fees in Alberta are 26 to 32 per cent higher than elsewhere in the country, more work needs to be done, said Stephen Frank, president and chief executive officer at CLHIA, in a news release. The association has been working with the government of Alberta since 2015 to introduce changes with a more substantial effect than the two to three per cent savings projected by the Alberta Dental Association and College, notes the release.

Read: How do Alberta’s dental fees compare to other provinces?

“In addition to a substantial reduction in dental fees, the CLHIA also strongly recommends that, as is already the case in most other provinces, the dental association and dental college be split into separate entities,” said Frank. “The protection of the public and protection of dentists are conflicting priorities and should not be under the mandate of a single organization.”

Unlike other provincial dental associations, the Alberta Dental Association and College stopped publishing an annual guide that lists dental procedures and their suggested fees in 1997, which has garnered much criticism.

However, the association and college finally released a dental fee guide last Thursday with help from Alberta’s Ministry of Health, and said it developed the guide with hopes that it “will allow dentists to create downward pressure on their costs of services.”

Alberta’s new dental fee guide will go into effect Sept. 1, according to CTV News.

Read: Alberta action plan on dental fees falls short: CLHIA