Medicare Limits Coverage of Popular Low-Back Pain Therapy

Recommendations for physicians and patients offered by RS Medical as CMS issues decision for widely used TENS therapy

VANCOUVER, Wash.--()--RS Medical today reacted to news that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a Final Decision Memorandum restricting coverage for a popular, non-invasive, inexpensive pain therapy called Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS). This notice is expected to result in a national coverage decision later this year. TENS is delivered to the lower back by using a small stimulation device that’s mobile or can be used at home.

With Friday’s announcement from CMS, pain management physicians will look to alternative treatments to treat Medicare patients with chronic low back pain. “Although we disagree with their conclusions, we understand Medicare’s financial decisions are difficult as they strive to manage our national health care expenditures,” said Karl Kuzis, M.D., Ph.D., vice president of Medical and Clinical Affairs for RS Medical. “Our company has experienced tough choices ourselves as we transformed our organization by adding new solutions, while cutting costs and putting our focus on supporting pain physicians. These pain treatment specialists face many challenges from reimbursement, regulatory and economic pressures.”

In the U.S. alone, more than one in five, or 70 million, people suffer from chronic pain, which causes disability in more people and contributes more to health care expenditures than cancer and cardiac diseases combined. Approximately 50 percent of all U.S. workers have experienced symptoms of back pain, which is the most common ailment requiring physician office visits. TENS received FDA clearance in the mid-1970s as indicated for treatment of painful conditions and is physician-accepted as a standard of care. TENS is safe, cost-effective, fast-acting and patient-friendly and has few side effects. For Medicare beneficiaries suffering from chronic low back pain, TENS will be available with prescription for purchase through physicians or directly through RS Medical on the effective date of the CMS decision. For Medicare patients who suffer from painful conditions other than chronic low back pain, TENS will continue to be covered by Medicare.

When asked for comments earlier this year on Medicare coverage of TENS for chronic low back pain, the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the American Academy of Pain Medicine recommended continued TENS coverage, with the AAPM submitting: “…There are few pharmacological or interventional treatments that offer the potential of pain relief with associated improvement in function for the relatively low cost and minimal short and long-term risks associated with the use of TENS… At a time when so much attention is being paid to safe prescribing, with all the attendant problems of excessive or misused pharmacotherapy, it would be catastrophic to eliminate such a safe and, for selected patients, potentially effective therapy.”

RS Medical offers additional electrotherapy and procedural products that pain physicians can use to treat back pain and will soon announce several strategic partnerships to deliver new solutions for the treatment of chronic pain. “We are building on our history and look to be a trusted partner to pain physicians, supporting their practices by delivering solutions to treat patients and improve outcomes,” stated John Konsin, president and CEO.

About RS Medical

RS Medical is a leading provider of products and solutions that support pain management practices. The company sells electrotherapy, bracing, cervical traction, bone growth stimulation and interventional pain procedure products throughout the United States with an employee sales and support team that markets directly to physicians and selected health care facilities. More information can be found on the company’s Web site at www.rsmedical.com.

Contacts

RS Medical
David Rardin, Director of Marketing Communications, 503-504-4044
or
Publix Northwest Public Relations/Public Affairs
Dianne Danowski Smith, 503-201-7019

Release Summary

Medicare limits coverage of popular low back pain therapy: RS Medical reacts as CMS issues decision for widely used TENS therapy

Contacts

RS Medical
David Rardin, Director of Marketing Communications, 503-504-4044
or
Publix Northwest Public Relations/Public Affairs
Dianne Danowski Smith, 503-201-7019