The NPA on Treating More Public Dental Patients commenced on 1 January 2013 and will run until 30 June 2015. Over the length of the Agreement, the Commonwealth will provide $344 million to the states and territories to provide services to 400,000 public dental patients (see Appendix A and B for eligibility for public oral health services in each state and territory). The programme is implemented by the states and territories.
NPA on Adult Public Dental Services
The NPA on Adult Public Dental Services will provide funding to the states and territories to deliver services to adult public dental patients (see Appendix A for eligibility for public adult oral health services). The programme will be implemented by the states and territories.
Dental Relocation and Infrastructure Support Scheme (DRISS)
The Dental Relocation and Infrastructure Support Scheme (DRISS) provides relocation and infrastructure grants to encourage and support dentists to relocate to regional and remote areas. DRISS has two linked components:
Part A: Relocation grants up to $120,000, determined from locations as classified under the Australian Standard Geographical Classification – Remoteness Areas (ASGC-RA) system
Part B: Dentists deemed eligible for Part A can also apply for infrastructure grants of up to $250,000 to assist in the purchase of dental equipment and other equipping of dental facilities.
Eligible areas are those classified as ASGC RA 2-5, noting that priority is given to areas most in need.
Funding of $76.0 million has been allocated over four years (2012-13 to 2015-16) for the programme. Rural Health Workforce Australia administers DRISS, and Rural Workforce Agencies in each state and the Northern Territory support the dentists following their relocation into rural practice.
The Voluntary Dental Graduate Year Programme provides 50 placements for dental graduates to undertake a structured programme to gain practice experience. Graduate placements are directed towards the public sector and areas of need, including rural areas. Further information about this programme is at: https://www.aitec.edu.au/vdgyp.
Oral Health Therapy Graduate Year Programme
The Oral Health Therapy Graduate Year Programme provides 50 placements for oral health therapist graduates to undertake a structured programme for enhanced practice experience and professional development opportunities, whilst increasing oral health workforce capacity, particularly in the public sector.
The Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) commenced on 1 January 2014, replacing the Medicare Teen Dental Plan (which provided vouchers for preventative dental checks to teenagers aged 12-17 years). The CDBS provides eligible children with up to $1,000 in benefits for basic dental services, with benefits capped over two consecutive calendar years. Benefits are processed through the Medicare system. The benefit covers basic dental services, including examinations, x-rays, cleaning, fissure sealing, fillings, root canals, extractions, and partial dentures. The benefit does not cover orthodontic or cosmetic dental work. Services can be provided in a public or private setting, but the benefit does not cover any services provided in a hospital.
Children and teenagers are eligible if they are aged 2–17 years for any one day of the calendar year, are eligible for Medicare, and meet the means test for the program:
the child is receiving either Family Tax Benefit Part A, ABSTUDY, Carer Payment, Disability Support Pension, Parenting Payment, Special Benefit or Youth Allowance; or
the child's family/carer/guardian is receiving either Family Tax Benefit Part A, Parenting Payment or the Double Orphan Pension in respect of the child; or
the child’s partner is receiving Family Tax Benefit Part A or Parenting Payment; or
the child is receiving financial assistance under the Veterans' Children Education Scheme (VCES) or Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act Education and Training Scheme (MRCAETS) (if the child is 16 or over).
Veterans who have served in the Australian Defence Force are eligible for free dental treatment (including general and emergency treatment and dentures) but entitlements vary between Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) White Card and Gold Card holders. The DVA Gold Card is also issued to dependents and widows/widowers who have access to these services. For most DVA beneficiaries, an annual limit of $2,488 (2014 limit) applies for dental benefits.
Armed Forces and Army Reserve Dental Scheme
Members of the Australian Defence Force and the Army Reserve are provided with free access to a full range of dental services.
Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Schemes
Adults and children with cleft lip or cleft palate conditions are eligible for the Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Scheme. The Scheme provides Medicare benefits for a range of dental treatment including oral and maxillofacial surgery, simple and surgical extraction of teeth, a limited range of orthodontic work, and some general and prosthodontic services.
To be eligible for the Scheme, a person must be enrolled in Medicare, registered with the Scheme before turning 22, and have treatment before turning 28.
Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and Aboriginal Medical Services
Community Controlled Health Services across Australia provide culturally appropriate dental care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The type, level, and availability of dental services varies between health services.
Oral health services in the Christmas and Coco Islands, and asylum seekers in community detention
Persons in detention facilities have access to free oral health care, although they may face long waiting times.
Asylum seekers in community detention may have access to public dental services (for example, dental care is provided with no charge to asylum seekers living in Victoria).