Independent dental hygienist claims now eligible for coverage in Nova Scotia

#183

PDF Version


In July 2008, we announced that Ontario and Manitoba joined the ranks in a growing trend across Canada to provincially regulate the practice of dental hygienists. This expansion now includes Nova Scotia, and certain procedures performed by dental hygienists in the province will be eligible for coverage.
In the past, dental hygienists were required to work under the guidance of a licensed dentist; however, as of May 15, 2009 dental hygienists in Nova Scotia are now able to work independently, and are no longer legally required to work under the guidance of a licensed dentist.

With this change, Nova Scotia joins British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, in improving patient care by creating easier access to the services of a dental hygienist, especially in remote, rural or other under-serviced areas. Additional provinces may be added in the future if their provincial legislation changes.

What services are eligible?

Eligible services, where no contraindications exist with the patient, may include:

  • Scaling – removing plaque and calculus
  • Root planing – smoothing root surfaces
  • Ordering and administering x-rays

What does this mean for your plan?

Your dental care plan is not changing. Rates won’t increase, and frequencies, limitations and maximums have not changed. Fees will continue to be limited to those in the provincial General Practitioner fee guides.

Last year we communicated to plan sponsors covered by Clarica of origin plans that their contracts would be updated at the next amendment. If you are a Clarica of origin plan sponsor, and have not had an amendment in the previous 12 months, your contract wording will be updated at the time your next amendment is processed.

Sun Life of origin plans have recognized dental hygienists as eligible practitioners (where permitted by law) for many years. No changes to these contracts are required.

What is next?

It is expected that New Brunswick will follow suit in enacting legislation to allow dental hygienists to work independent of dentists, once the New Brunswick College of Dental Hygienists has been established to license and regulate dental hygienists. We will provide you with updates as developments occur.

For more information, please visit www.cdha.ca.

If you have any questions, please contact your Sun Life Financial group representative.