Health Minister De Block is unhappy with the professional association of physiotherapists
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    Health Minister De Block is unhappy with the professional association of physiotherapists

    Maggie De Block

    Minister of Social Affairs Maggie De Block (Open VLD) is displeased with the appeal of the professional association of physiotherapists to its members to walk away from agreement between the health insurance fund and physiotherapists. She lashed out at the association saying, “It would be good if there were a better representation of the physiotherapists.”

    In a striking opinion piece in Monday’s issue of De Standaard, the professional association for physiotherapists (Axxon) called on its members to step out of the mutual agreement between the health insurance fund and physiotherapists. This agreement fixes fees and the financial regulation, including the amount that a patient gets paid back for treatment. If physiotherapists walk away from the agreement, they may freely determine their fees.

    The Minister does not think it possible for Axxon to make such a call after the association had signed an agreement with the Riziv/INAMI (the national health insurance organisation). “If necessary I will write  to all 22,000 physiotherapists to explain the situation”, De Block said on the programme De Ochtend on Radio 1.

    Minister De Block is absolutely “not amused” with Axxon’s appeal to its members. She points out that while Axxon is the only professional association in the sector, it nevertheless represents only a small proportion of physiotherapists.

    Moreover, the minister finds unfavourable that this call follows months of negotiations, with more funds going to the sector. “A word is a word and a signature is a signature”, according to De Block. ”They’re trying to justify their move at the expense of the patient.”

    The liberal minister points out that physiotherapists, who stay within the agreement, can claim premiums up to 3,500 euro. She also quoted agreements about indexation and the growth standards.

    According to the minister, it would be “good if there were better representation of the physiotherapists.”  She says with this call to action, Axxon “as a professional association loses complete credibility.”

    The Brussels Times