The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently proposed payment of approximately $6,000 for focused ultrasound treatment of essential tremor and is accepting comments on this matter through September 6, 2016. A final payment rate should be announced in early November.
In order for patients to benefit from this revolutionary technology which the FDA approved July 11, 2016, an adequate level of payment is essential to enable providers to adopt and utilize focused ultrasound. Unfortunately, the proposed payment is inadequate to support this.
The payment proposed is about the same as for focused ultrasound to relieve pain in patients with bone metastases. But compared to bone treatment, the resources required to treat essential tremor are considerably greater including different and costlier equipment and supplies.
The Foundation is concerned that an inadequate payment level will deprive patients in the United States from having the opportunity to benefit from this technology. Consistent with our mission, we intend to share our perspective with CMS to ensure that the final rate is one that will facilitate, and not hinder, use of focused ultrasound to treat essential tremor.