SPECIAL ALERT: CMS Public Comment Period for VNS Therapy in Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD) Now Open

On February 5, 2007, Medicare began the second 30-day public comment period for a National Coverage Policy for VNS Therapy for treatment-resistant depression (TRD).  This National Coverage Policy will have an impact on all people who are requesting access to VNS Therapy, whether they have Medicare or commercial insurance coverage.  During this public comment period, citizens are commenting on the draft policy that states VNS Therapy should not be a covered benefit for patients with TRD under Medicare. 

The public comment period provides an opportunity for people to express their opinion about this proposed non coverage policy.  The more voices that are heard during this period, the greater the probability that Medicare will provide important coverage for VNS Therapy.  If you believe that Americans with TRD deserve access to VNS Therapy, it is time to make your voice heard.  Your experience with TRD will be very valuable to Medicare as they make their final National Coverage Policy.

During the thirty days from February 5, 2007 to March 7, 2007, you may submit your comments electronically at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/mcd/viewnca.asp?from=ncd&nca_id=195. Once on this website, click on the orange comment button to submit your comment electronically.

You may also send your comments to the following address:

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Att: Beverly A. Lofton, MHA
Ref: NCA for Vagus Nerve Stimulation for Treatment of Resistant Depression (TRD) (CAG-0313R) C1-09-06
7500 Security Boulevard
Baltimore, MD 21244

If you or a friend or family member are considering VNS Therapy for TRD or trying to obtain access to VNS Therapy for TRD, comments including any of the following aspects of your (their) experience are most meaningful:

  • How your (their) life has been impacted by treatment-resistant depression;
  • How many antidepressant treatments you (they) have tried - including medications, ECT and hospitalizations; and
  • Your (their) opinion regarding the proposed non coverage policy.

If you currently have VNS Therapy for TRD or a friend or family member has VNS Therapy for TRD, comments including any of the following aspects of your (their) experience are most meaningful:

  • How your (their) life has been impacted by treatment-resistant depression;
  • How many antidepressant treatments you (they) tried prior to VNS Therapy, including medications, ECT and hospitalizations;
  • How VNS Therapy has impacted your (their) life and utilization of healthcare resources; and
  • How denial of access to VNS Therapy might impact people like you. 
We appreciate your interest regarding access to VNS Therapy for TRD and thank you for your time and participation in this public comment period.  If you have any questions regarding this process, please contact your nurse case manager, or call 1-877-NOW-4VNS.

 

   
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  UNITED STATES INDICATION FOR USE:
The VNS Therapy System is indicated for use as an adjunctive therapy in reducing the frequency of seizures in adults and adolescents over 12 years of age with partial onset seizures, which are refractory to antiepileptic medications.

VNS Therapy (or the VNS Therapy System) is indicated for the adjunctive long-term treatment of chronic or recurrent depression for patients over the age of 18 who are experiencing a major depressive episode and have not had an adequate response to four or more adequate antidepressant treatments.