Growth of the ODA
 Kenneth Pownall, Registrar Secretary Treasurer of the RCDSO - 1987
No Dentists, No Capitation (1985)

In the fall of 1985 the capitation insurance payment structure was introduced in Ontario. It allowed insurance carriers to pay dentists a flat rate for each patient, regardless of the level of treatment required. This plan also forced patients to see dentists designated by the insurance carrier ‒ a violation of the Ontario Dental Association's (ODA) Code of Conduct’s requirement that patients were permitted choice.

The ODA was determined to fight back against capitation, creating a public awareness marketing campaign, No Dentists, No Capitation, to explain capitation’s substantial drawbacks. The impact of the ODA's public awareness plan was almost immediate. Loyal ODA members began to flood ODA Headquarters with contributions for the public education campaign. ODA members gave anti-capitation speeches to the dental students at dental faculties. Individual members took time to tell their patients that they might not have free choice of dentist, office or treatment, while ODA staff talked directly with organizations who were considering buying capitation plans, informing them of the dangers.

The ODA’s No Dentists, No Capitation campaign made headlines, while uniting ODA members and the public against an insurance program that would eliminate choice for patients while financially hamstringing dentists. By the end of 1987 insurers were promoting seven different types of capitation programs in Ontario, backed by millions of dollars of capital, yet had managed to sign up few more than 100 dentists. Two years after it was first introduced capitation had failed to make an immediate or lasting impact in Ontario.

Photo (Top): Harold Barkley/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Photo (Right): Courtesy of Thinkstock
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