Proposed Payment Rates for ET Treatment Too Low?

MRI-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) for essential tremor became a method of treatment in July of 2016 when the FDA approved the procedure whereby thermal imaging is used to target and lesion brain tissue while keeping the skull intact. Since then it has progressed to the insurance coverage determination process where coverage rates are established for providers of the procedure and its technologies. Until payment rates are completely established, people who want it will pay out-of-pocket to the tune of about $25K to have the procedure.

There was an opportunity recently for public comment on the proposed coverage rule for 2018, and Peter Muller of HopeNET, who himself underwent the procedure when FDA approved it last year, submitted the following letter to CMS expressing his concern that if payment rates to hospital providers are too low the hospitals may choose not to offer to this care option, and those with ET who would benefit may have limited access to treatment.

CMS letter FUS 2018