The North American Neuromodulation Society (NANS) has led a multi-society response to the Washington State Health Care Authority (WSHCA) following its review of the current evidence on spinal cord stimulation (SCS).
As per a NANS press release, the state of Washington is the only entity in the USA and western Europe that does not approve SCS for any diagnosis, for any patient, with insurance covered by the Health Care Authority—a decision affecting about 2.5 million Washingtonians.
This situation has lasted for more than 12 years, the release also details.
Last year, a group of pain physicians across the state requested that the WSHCA re-review the existing evidence on SCS. Their request was granted, but the subsequent report issued by the WSHCA was—according to NANS—“so methodologically flawed that it should not be used to make any coverage policy decisions”.
As stated on the WSHCA website, the authority’s SCS re-review—dated 1 September 2023—is a draft evidence report, the current status of which is “in progress”.
Working with the Multisociety Pain Workgroup (MPW), which consists of physicians working across anaesthesiology, interventional pain, radiology, physiatry, neurosurgery and other specialties, NANS has authored a “forceful response” to the re-review. NANS’ response to the ongoing WSHCA re-review can be read in full here.
A public hearing is also scheduled for 17 November, and NANS has said it “will be there to fight for extending coverage across the state to those who need access to this critical therapy”.