Quebec has managed to reach an agreement with the province’s dental surgeons for services covered by the public plan, seven years after the last one expired.
Treasury Board President Sonia LeBel announced Friday via news release that a new agreement has been reached between the government and the Association des chirurgiens dentistes du Québec (ACDQ), representing 4,300 dental surgeons. The last agreement expired in April 2015.
It’s through this agreement that children younger than 10 and people receiving social assistance can receive free dental care under the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec.
No details have been shared as to the content of the agreement, which has yet to be submitted to members. The main issue during negotiations concerned the recognition of the operating costs of dental clinics. According to information obtained by Presse Canadienne, the issue is included in the agreement, but has not been resolved to the full satisfaction of dentists.
The conflict resulted in 1,400 dentists withdrawing from the public dental care plan in mid-February 2020, just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The withdrawal didn’t deprive beneficiaries of free dental care, but caused administrative headaches for the RAMQ. A month later, on March 18, 2020, the 1,400 dentists re-entered the public plan to avoid causing problems within the network as the first wave of the pandemic began.
In the news release on Friday, LeBel said she was “very happy with this mutually satisfactory agreement for the parties.”
She saluted the dental surgeons’ efforts to arrive at a conclusion.
“Our dentists are important and guarantee access to quality care and services for all citizens of Quebec,” she said.
The president of the ACDQ, Dr. Carl Tremblay, issued a brief comment by email: “At the end of … arduous years of negotiation with the government regarding an expired framework agreement since April 2015, we finally have, in our hands, a proposal that we can present to our members at our next general assembly.”
Tremblay also wanted to underline the dedication of the ACDQ’s members for having continued to provide care to beneficiaries for seven years despite the absence of an agreement.
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