The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services are removing national coverage decisions for 7 medical procedures, including certain types of lobotomies and tinnitus masking devices, after a year-long review initiated in November 2013.
The federal health insurance program announced the changes in a memo released this week. Just because CMS removes the national coverage decision does not mean the procedures are not covered; that decision is left to local Medicare contractors.
Among the procedures and products affected are tinnitus masking devices, which create white noise to counteract the constant ringing associated with the condition; and stereotactic cingulotomy for psychosurgery, which involves ablating the limbic system in the brain’s frontal lobe using radiofrequency waves. The procedure involves inserting electrocautery probes stereotactically through lateral burr holes in the skull, according to CMS.
The agency also removed national coverage decisions for carotid sinus nerve stimulators; electroencephalographic monitoring during open-heart surgery; electron microscopes; xenon scans; and nuclear radiology procedures, according to the CMS memo.
The agency said it will maintain NCDs for non-invasive tests of carotid function, laser procedures and L-DOPA.