Highmark Medicare Services Restores CyberKnife Coverage for Trigeminal Neuralgia

The CyberKnife Coalition is delighted to announce the successful

resolution of an important access issue affecting our centers’ ability to
treat Medicare patients in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland,
Pennsylvania, Northern Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
As an unintended consequence of the implementation of Highmark’s
SBRT policy in 2009, claims for the intracranial indication, trigeminal
neuralgia, started to be rejected by the contractor. Collaborating with
centers in the region and other important stakeholders, the CyberKnife
Coalition brought this issue to the attention of decision makers at
Highmark who, on March 21, announced that patient access had been
restored.
Trigeminal neuralgia is a painful and debilitating condition that has
often been referred to as the “suicide disease” because so many of its
victims have taken their own lives after being unable to find effective
treatment. While surgery and medication are often ineffective and can
result in significant patient side effects, CyberKnife typically offers
patients relief after a non-invasive, 90 minute treatment.
The CyberKnife Coalition serves as the voice for patient access to this
important technology and has a long track record of success in working
cooperatively with CMS and its regional contractors toward fair
payment and appropriate coverage policies. The Coalition appreciates
Highmark’s action in this matter.
For more information see the March 21, 2011 article titled: “Provider
Alert – Stereotactic Radiation in the treatment of Trigeminal Neuralgia”
on Provider Bulletins section of the Highmark Website at:
www.highmarkmedicareservices.com