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Information on Hospital Emergency Room Visits for Dental Problems in Ontario

Information on Hospital Emergency Room Visits for Dental Problems in Ontario 

  • Across Ontario in 2012 there were almost 58,000 visits to hospital Emergency Rooms (ER) for oral health problems.

  • This is evidence that many people are using costly acute care ER for dental problems because they cannot afford dental treatment.

  • Public Health Ontario reports that 1 in every 5 Ontarians does not visit a dentist because they cannot afford the cost.

  • However, at the ER they can only get pain killers, not treatment to solve the problem. So many will return to ER.

  • Our research found that more people visit ER for dental problems than for diabetes problems.

  • This is a costly and inappropriate use of hospital ER.

  • Ontarians should be able to receive affordable preventative dental care in their communities. But OHIP does not cover our teeth and gums.

  • At a minimum cost of $513/visit, the total estimated cost for dental visits to ER in Ontario was at least $30million in 2012.

  • The Ontario Ministry of Health & Long Term Care set up Health Links in 2012 with one goal being to reduce avoidable ER visits.   http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/transformation/community.aspx

  • Dental visits to ER are avoidable.  We need government investment in public dental programs for low income adults.

  • If low income people could get their oral health needs met at public clinics and Community Health Centres they would not be clogging up their local ER.

  • The Ontario government should re-direct the $30million (minimum estimate) spent on acute care for oral health in ERs to a pilot program to provide public oral health care for low income adults.

  • The Ontario Oral Health Alliance is asking for government commitment to invest in oral health programs for adults in the next Ontario budget.  We urge all political parties to commit to investing in public oral health care programs for low income adults in party platforms during the next Ontario election.

 



Visits to Ontario Hospital Emergency Rooms for Oral Health Problems, 2012*


LHIN


Number of Patient Visits


CENTRAL


3,500


CENTRAL EAST


5,817


CENTRAL WEST


1,988


CHAMPLAIN


5,477


ERIE ST. CLAIR


3,160


HAMILTON NIAGARA HALDIMAND BRANT (HNHB)


6,258


MISSISSAUGA HALTON


2,388


NORTH SIMCOE MUSKOKA


3,289


NORTH-EAST


6,161


NORTH-WEST


2,771


SOUTH EAST


4,005


SOUTH WEST


6,822


TORONTO CENTRAL


3,531


WATERLOO WELLINGTON


2,767


Total


57,934

 

*Reasons for visits: disease of oral cavity, salivary glands and jaws. Most common complaint: abscess, toothache.

Source of data: Ministry of Health & Long Term Care IntelliHEALTH ONTARIO

 

Costing:

According to St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, the average cost for a visit to their Emergency Room to see a physician about a dental emergency is at least $513. This does not include the cost for those people who will require hospitalization.

Using this figure OOHA estimates the total cost of visits to Ontario hospital Emergency Rooms for oral health problems was at least $30million in 2012

Note prepared by: Jacquie Maund

Association of Ontario Health Centres, October 2013

jacquie@aohc.org

 

 

Friday, October 11, 2013