News & Press: Advocacy

SIS Urges BCBS Association’s Evidence Street to Review RF Ablation of Peripheral Nerves Evidence

Thursday, May 30, 2019  
On March 19, 2019, the Spine Intervention Society (SIS) submitted a comment letter to Blue Cross Blue Shield Association’s Evidence Street, a health care decision-making platform for the review of medical evidence, in response to their call for comments on their coverage policy for radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of peripheral nerves. The Society asserts that their policy misclassifies RFA of the genicular nerves to treat pain associated with knee osteoarthritis (OA) as investigational.

Under the policy, Ablation of Peripheral Nerves to Treat Pain, patients covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona are denied effective, nonsurgical RFA treatments proven to improve patient function and quality of life; decrease dependence on oral pain medications; reduce physical therapy utilization; and spare many future costly and unnecessary surgical interventions. SIS advocates for coverage in appropriately selected patients.

Acknowledging the strength and quality of the evidence in support of the safety and effectiveness of genicular nerve RFA, the American Medical Association’s Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) Editorial Panel has approved a Category I code that is expected to go into effect on January 1, 2020.

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