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Monthly Archives: June 2012

5 Pain Management Experts Respond to CMS’ Cancelled TENS Reimbursement [Rebuttal]

In continuing to follow the nonsense concerning Medicare and TENS, here is an interesting article:

5 Pain Management Experts Respond to CMS’ Cancelled TENS Reimbursement
Written by Taryn Tawoda | June 13, 2012

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last week announced that most uses of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation will no longer be reimbursed as treatment for chronic low back pain. In a memo released Friday, CMS officials wrote that reimbursement for TENS will be available only when patients are participating in a randomized, controlled trial to gauge the clinical effectiveness of the treatment.

Medicare previously paid for FDA-approved TENS equipment and supplies when prescribed by a physician for chronic pain and reimbursed physicians and physical therapists for evaluating patients’ suitability for the treatment.

Five pain management experts weigh in on the CMS decision.

Pamela D’Amato, MD, Pain Management Specialist, Advanced Interventional Pain Management (Clifton, N.J.): I feel that the CMS ceasing reimbursement for TENS treatment is surprising. In the climate of pain management, with the over prescription of opioid medications, it is always nice to have a non-medication and non-interventional alternative, in my arsenal of treatment options. Unfortunately, we now run the risk of the private insurance companies following the CMS’s stance. It limits the concept of a multi-modal approach to patients with chronic low back pain. A TENS unit can be beneficial for a patient, they can utilize it on their own and often with little adverse side effects.

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Posted by on June 14, 2012 in Pain - Physical, Pain - Psychological

 

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CMS Nixes TENS for Back Pain [WTF?]

CMS Nixes TENS for Back Pain
By Emily P. Walker, Washington Correspondent, MedPage Today
Published: June 11, 2012

WASHINGTON — Medicare will no longer cover most uses of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for chronic low back pain, according to a memo issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Reimbursement for TENS for low back pain will be available only when patients are participating in a randomized, controlled trial of the technology’s clinical effectiveness, CMS officials wrote in the final decision, which was released Friday and is effective immediately.

“TENS is not reasonable and necessary for the treatment of [chronic low back pain],” they wrote.

Currently, Medicare pays for FDA-approved TENS equipment and supplies when prescribed by a physician for chronic intractable pain and reimburses physicians and physical therapists for evaluating patients’ suitability for the treatment, which is typically used at home.

TENS units are usually small, portable battery operated devices that deliver electrical currents to the skin through electrodes.

CMS decided on its own to review its coverage of TENS for chronic low back pain in the wake of a 2010 report by an American Academy of Neurology panel that found the treatment was not effective.That panel had conducted a systematic review of published studies of TENS and concluded there was “conflicting evidence for the use of TENS in the treatment of chronic low back pain and that TENS should be deemed ineffective for this purpose.”

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Posted by on June 11, 2012 in Pain - Physical

 

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