Belgian surgeons were beginning to utilize cone beam CT several years ago.

Then, doctors like AZ Groeninge Kortrijk’s Dr. Frederik Vanrietvelde suddenly had to slow their use of the modality because of price concerns, with cone beam CT suddenly left off a crucial list made by legislators.

Vanrietvelde and some colleagues lobbied to make sure it was included, noting that it met the definition of a CT scan approved for reimbursement by the government and that its absence was simply a mistake.

“If you look very closely, you could tell cone beam CT also corresponds to these particular parameters they use, so it should have been on this list, anyway,” he said. “So, there was really no reason why it shouldn’t be on the list, and they really never argued that what we were asking was not correct. They simply said, ‘Sorry, we forgot it. We have to correct it.’”

Even still, the process took two years for hospitals to once again be able to bill cone beam CT in the same way they were billing a more traditional CT scan. With that being the case, the numbers of Belgian doctors utilizing the technology remain relatively small.

Still, Vanrietvelde is confident their numbers will grow now that the scans are more accessible, and he said the most important thing was to put himself into others’ shoes.

“It’s always a difficult balance you have to do as a legislator. I’m thinking as a radiologist, and the patient is thinking as a patient. A legislator has to think as a legislator and think about budget balance, so my main advice would be come together,” he said. “Let’s get all those people together with different mindsets and different perspectives before you decide how to reimburse something.”

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