Second Sight Medical touted Medicare coverage for its Argus II "bionic eye" implant, a retinal prosthesis designed to help restore some vision to patients blinded by a rare disease.
The 1st-of-its-kind technology is comprised of 2 main components: an eyeglass-mounted camera and an electrical stimulator implanted in the eye. The device converts images captured by the camera into a series of electrical pulses that are transmitted wirelessly to electrodes in the retina to simulate vision.
FDA regulators in February approved Argus II for treating blindness due to late stage retinitis pigmentosa, a condition that leaves patients with either bare light perception or none at all. There is currently no cure for the rare condition, which is diagnosed about 250 times each year.
"This is a game changer in sight-affecting diseases, that represents a huge step forward for the field and for these patients who were without any available treatment options until now," Second Sight president & CEO Dr. Robert Greenberg said at the time.
Second Sight in June launched 12 U.S. centers to begin consultations for the Argus II, and the company in July launched a $10.5 million equity funding round.
Medicare granted the Argus II device reimbursement for both inpatient (new technology add-on payments) and outpatient settings (transitional pass through payment), the company announced. CMS is slated in October to release more information on billing, coding and payment for outpatient reimbursement. Inpatient coverage is available through the Medicare Inpatient Prospective Payment System will be identified by a new ICD-9-CM procedure code 14.81, Second Sight said.