1. The Australian Dental Association does not support ‘preferred provider’ contracts and believes that maintaining patient choice is a crucial element to maintaining high standards of dental care in Australia. The ADA believes that contracted dentistry may cause “tiered’ levels of care and that its implementation has not been successful anywhere else in the world.
2. Preferred providers are not chosen based on their ability but rather because they meet the fee criteria of the health funds and have agreed to their contract terms. Standards of practice are not the private health funds’ top priority.
3. Under a contract with a Private Health Fund, dentists are not allowed to increase their fees in line with practice cost increases. In this case, the quality of dental care may suffer due to resorting to cheaper alternatives. At PDG, we take great pride in working with only the highest quality dental labs, using state-of-the-art equipment and the highest quality materials. We are not willing to trade our standards for cost cuts.
4. Contracted dentists are not allowed to reduce their fees, as we may do with certain conditions, because their contract stipulates so. This may lead to overcharging the patient to meet the customary private health fund fees.
5. Private Health Fund members pay the same premiums and should, therefore, get the same rebates regardless of their dental provider. It is morally wrong for patients who wish to exercise their freedom of choice to get lower rebates. If these patients are getting a lesser rebate they should be paying a lesser premium.