Retrospective analysis of utilisation of the Australian Child Dental Benefit Scheme

Dina Eka Putri, Estie Kruger, Marc Tennant

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Objective: The Child Dental Benefit Scheme (CDBS), which provides dental services for targeted children in Australia, was implemented in 2014. Currently there is no information available on the cost and utilisation patterns of this publicly funded scheme. This study aimed to analyse the pattern of dental visits under the CDBS, as well as the cost of the CDBS over the first 2 years of operation. Methods: This study was a retrospective descriptive analysis, using data from Medicare Statistics (an Australian Government website) from two calendar years (2014 and 2015). Results: Nationally, the number of CDBS patients declined by 16.3% after the first year, and patients were predominantly aged 5-14 years. Preventive services were the most used service, and contributed to approximately 30% of total expenditure. Conclusion: The utilisation of CDBS is considered to be low. What is known about the topic?: Previous government dental schemes in Australia resulted in inequalities in utilisation of the scheme by targeted groups. The CDBS was implemented with an extension of eligibility criteria and services offered as a means to improve access to dental care. What does this paper add?: There is no information available on the utilisation and cost patterns of the CDBS; hence, this study analysed the pattern of utilisation and the cost of the CDBS over the first 2 years of operation. What are the implications for practitioners?: It is important that practitioners promote the scheme among those eligible to enable targeted populations access to the scheme and to ultimately improve child oral health.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAustralian Health Review
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Oct 2019

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