Soon change at the doctor in Belgium

The first teleconsultation codes created during the Covid crisis will disappear and be replaced by other codes governing telephone and video consultations. The latter will be paid more and the patient will now have to contribute to the costs of the consultation.

Concretely, the final amount due will amount to four euros for a video consultation and two euros for a telephone consultation (in both cases, a patient benefiting from the increased intervention of the Inami will only pay one euro).

The number of remote consultations reimbursed will ultimately not be limited. However, the National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (Inami) and its partners assume that these remote consultations can only be a complement to traditional consultations with personal contact and a physical examination.

“The goal is not for video consultation to become the norm and replace traditional consultation,” comments the Federal Minister of Public Health. “The clinical examination is of course an essential part of making a diagnosis. However, it is not always necessary and it is particularly in this context that remote consultation can have added value for both the patient and the doctor. »

From now on, four conditions must be met for a remote consultation to be reimbursed. This must be a consultation with a doctor whom the patient has already consulted, with a specialist to whom another doctor has referred him, or even with a general medicine on-call service. This consultation must come from a request from the patient and have the agreement of the doctor, the latter being required to have access to the patient’s file during this consultation. Finally, the platform used for a video interview must be secure and comply with good practices in this area.

ABSyM, the Belgian Association of Medical Syndicates, for its part “welcomes” this new system and the conditions established to guarantee reimbursement. “For the ABSyM, the principle of the prior treatment relationship is the best guarantee against the abuse of the initiatives of commercial companies which offer video consultations with an unknown doctor”, notes the president of the association in a press release. “Such inappropriate use of telemedicine does not meet the quality standards that Belgian patients deserve. »

According to an intermutualist survey carried out during the summer of 2020, 75% of those questioned said they were satisfied, or even very satisfied, with the teleconsultations they benefited from during confinement, underlines Frank Vandenbroucke’s cabinet.

In addition, a scientific think tank has been working on the subject over the past few months and has submitted a proposal for the organization and optimal financing of remote consultations for general practitioners. It will serve as a basis for the development of a more “definitive” model, according to the Inami.

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