Mich. bill seeks to deregulate CBCT

A legislative fight is building in Michigan, as the Michigan Dental Association (MDA) faces opposition to a bill it supports that would deregulate cone-beam CT (CBCT) scans.

The Senate bill, SB 741, introduced by state Sen. Rick Jones (R-District 24) would eliminate the Certificate of Need (CON) regulation for CBCT. It is supported by the MDA because it would "reduce dental practice costs, expand access to these devices, and address patient convenience," according to an article in Crain's Detroit Business.

CBCT offers a very clear 3D image of the teeth, vessels, and nerves before surgery, according to Jones. "This should lead to much less pain by the patient. Dentists should have more access to it," he is quoted in the article.

Marc Keshishian, MD, chairman of the CON Commission and medical director of the Blue Care Network, said that this is a regulation and reimbursement issue.

"All high-tech equipment needs to be regulated," Keshishian said. Payors have a difficult time paying for healthcare costs with extra infrastructure, he noted.

A CON Commission committee studied CT regulations and recommended against changing conebeam rules in 2013, according to the article.

"We tried to get the dental scanner out from CON," said Sharon L. Brooks, DDS, who chaired the committee and is a professor emeritus with the University of Michigan School of Dentistry and a private practitioner in Ann Arbor. "The radiologists were OK with it. It primarily was the hospital administrators, the insurance people, and the Economic Alliance [for Michigan] who opposed it."

The bill is currently in the health policy committee, according to the article. Michigan is one of two states, the other being Rhode Island, that continues to regulate dental CT scanners.

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