Imagine this scenario: A young woman in her 30s is living with severe back pain due to failed back surgery syndrome. No treatment to date has sufficiently addressed her crippling pain. Then, her doctor implements a new type of therapy – an implant using high frequency stimulation instead of the more traditional low frequency solution. The implant delivers an electrical message to the spinal cord where her pain is originating. The result? An immediate and significant reduction in her pain.
Similar scenarios are playing out often at Loveland Surgery Center in Colorado, where Dr. Brad Sisson is one of 10 physician partners and Regent Surgical Health is management partner. Dr. Sisson leads the center’s pain management service line, actively growing Loveland’s practice in stem cell procedures, and performing the new high frequency spinal cord stimulator (SCS) procedures as well.
“We started doing this procedure in the fall of 2015, after the FDA approved a new type of spinal cord stimulator manufactured by NEVRO Corp.,” Dr. Sisson says. “The new, high frequency device is supported by 10 years of clinical research and represents a significant advance in spinal cord stimulation. The culminating study they conducted resulted in FDA approval, and showed the device had two times the efficacy of the old, tonic-style stimulators. It’s not instantaneous, but the messenger system convinces cells to behave differently. Patients like it because they can still operate equipment and drive while wearing the device.”
Economic Benefits for ASCs
Ambulatory surgery centers appreciate HF10 as much as physicians and patients do, according to Sisson. Part of the advantage is economic: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recognized the HF10 device as superior and assigned it a unique reimbursement code. Why? Because as reported in the January 2016 OPPS update “… a clinical trial demonstrated that a high frequency spinal cord stimulator operated at 10,000 Hz and paresthesia-free provides a substantial clinical improvement in pain management versus a low-frequency spinal cord stimulator.”
“Facility administrators are excited about it because it lowers their costs,” Sisson says. “It really is a win-win. It greatly reduces or eliminates back pain, and delivers great revenue for the center.”
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