November 22, 2016

CMS Releases 2017 Final Physician Fee Schedule

On November 2, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule that updates payment policies, payment rates and quality provisions for services furnished under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) on or after January 1, 2017. The PFS pays for services furnished by surgeons, physicians, and other practitioners in all sites of service. These services include but are not limited to visits, surgical procedures, diagnostic tests, therapy services, and specified preventive services. As part of the final rule, CMS assigned final values to the following new surgical spine codes set to take effect January 1, 2017: Code Descriptor 22853 Insertion of interbody biomechanical device(s) (eg, synthetic cage, mesh) with integral anterior instrumentation for device anchoring […]
November 17, 2016

ISASS Submits Comments to HCSC on Draft Lumbar Fusion Policy

On November 1, HCSC (BCBS Illinois, BCBS Montana, BCBS New Mexico, BCBS Oklahoma, BCBS Texas) posted a draft updated lumbar fusion medical policy for comment through November 16. The draft policy establishes conditions for which lumbar spinal fusion may be considered medically necessary by HCSC. ISASS submitted comments specific to HCSC’s designation of lumbar fusion to treat degenerative disc disease (DDD) as not medically necessary and provided HCSC with a copy of the Society’s lumbar fusion policy. The final policy will be released by HCSC in the coming weeks.
November 10, 2016

ISASS Policy Statement – Decompression with Interlaminar Stabilization

ISASS Recommendations/Coverage Criteria for Decompression with Interlaminar Stabilization – Coverage Indications, Limitations, and/or Medical Necessity Authors: Richard Guyer, MD; Michael Musacchio, MD; Frank P. Cammisa, Jr., MD; and Morgan P. Lorio, MD, FACS   This paper was originally published here. A PDF version of this Policy Statement can be accessed here.   Introduction Broadly defined, lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is the progressive narrowing of the spinal canal and neural foramen resulting in pressure upon the nerve(s) leading to pain and/or numbness in the extremities, muscle weakness, bowel and bladder issues, and/or other pain related issues. However, the difficulty arises in that spinal stenosis is a heterogeneous condition with multiple etiologies which may present with disc height loss, facet hypertrophy, spondylolisthesis, retrolisthesis, coronal […]
November 3, 2016

ISASS Submits Comments to Novitas Draft LCD on Vertebroplasty, Vertebral Augmentation

On November 3, ISASS submitted comments to Novitas Solutions Inc., the Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) covering Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Delaware, D.C., Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, on its draft Local Coverage Determination (LCD) on Percutaneous Vertebroplasty and Vertebral Augmentation (Kyphoplasty). The comment letter focused on three aspects of the draft LCD: Proposed non-coverage of percutaneous sacral augmentation (0200T and 0201T) Proposed non-coverage of prophylactic use of percutaneous vertebroplasty Proposed non-coverage of treatment for more than two vertebral levels ISASS asked Novitas to revisit these issues prior to finalizing the LCD.