Today, Wildrose Shadow Health Minister Drew Barnes released a letter sent to Health Minister Sarah Hoffman with recommendations to improve transparency and reduce costs for consumers in Alberta's dental system.
Hoffman announced a review of Alberta dental fees last September. Wildrose believes a comprehensive strategy is needed to increase competition and transparency for all Albertans.
“Wildrose believes that Albertans should have access to pricing information that will allow them to make informed choices regarding the dental procedures they undergo and the dentists they choose,” Barnes said. “We want the NDP government to avoid the temptation to strap too much red-tape and regulation on a system many Albertans are saying they are frustrated with.”
Highlights of the recommendations put forward by Barnes include:
- Increasing transparency in the system by encouraging dental offices to post prices for common procedures online;
- Promoting consumer choice and a competitive market by relaxing the strict limitations on advertising currently in place in the dental profession; and,
- Ensuring greater public accountability by reviewing the feasibility of splitting the Alberta Dental Association and College into two distinct entities, one for accreditation and one to protect the financial interests of member dentists.
“Competition is essential to any market: it unleashes innovation and passes savings from efficiencies on to consumers. But it has been absent from our dental market, and Albertans are paying the price,” Barnes said. “As part of our commitment to achieving improved access and choice throughout Alberta’s health care system, Wildrose supports an approach to dental fees that offers price transparency and cost competiveness.”
A copy of the letter can be found here.