News & Press: Advocacy

Make Your Voice Heard Before Patients in Oregon Lose Coverage for Epidural Steroid Injections

Monday, May 9, 2016  
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) recently announced that, effective July 1, 2016, the state will no longer cover epidural steroid injections as a treatment for conditions of the back and spine. This change occurs without any official public comment period and does not align with the recommendations in the coverage guidance developed by the OHA’s Health Evidence Review Commission (HERC). In fact, the HERC is undertaking a revision of their coverage guidance on percutaneous interventions for low back pain, with publication of a draft guidance anticipated in late 2016 or early 2017; SIS submitted comments on the HERC’s proposed scope/questions in January 2016.

On Thursday, May 19th,  two meetings are scheduled that include opportunity for public comment. The OHA’s Value-based Benefits Subcommittee (VbBS) will meet from 8:30am – 1:00pm; the Health Evidence Review Commission (HERC) will meet from 1:30-4:30 pm. SIS encourages interested Oregon physicians and stakeholders to attend and sign up to provide verbal comments at the meeting, though time may be limited per the OHA’s policy. Written comments may also be submitted by May 12th.

SIS will be submitting comments regarding the value of epidural steroid injections and highlighting concerns about the OHA’s flawed process. Any SIS members interested in attending this meeting and attempting to provide comment are encouraged to contact SIS staff to obtain a copy of our letter and an outline of key points.

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