ASRA Urges CA Workers’ Comp Coverage of Spinal Cord Stimulation

Mar 13, 2017

ASRA signed a letter to the California Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) on March 10th urging coverage of spinal cord stimulation and other interventional therapies for the treatment of chronic pain. The letter is in response to a request for comments on a DWC proposal to amend the Medical Treatment Utilization Schedule to eliminate access to spinal cord stimulation, neurostimulation, and other interventional therapies.

In 2014, a similar proposal was put forth, attempting to eliminate access to neurostimulation and intrathecal therapy for chronic pain. That proposal's request for comment resulted in extensive evidence being provided to support the safety and effectiveness of these therapies. Revised guidelines published in summer 2016 included access to these therapies. 

"It is hard to believe that after going through this entire process over a 9-month period less than two years ago, with resolution resulting in inclusion of access to these therapies for injured workers in the State of California, a new proposal would emerge that once again proposes to eliminate them," the letter states.

Access to interventional pain therapies is supported by the opioid crisis and a desire to find nonpharmacologic therapies for treatment of pain. 

Joshua Prager, MD, MS, director of the Center for the Rehabilitation of Pain Syndromes at UCLA Medical Plaza, authored the letter which was signed on to by 11 organizations including the American Society of Anethesiologists, and another five prominent physician leaders in pain medicine.

Read the letter here, which includes the 2015 letter and Executive Summary in Support of Spinal Cord Stimulation for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome and Targeted Intrathecal Drug Delivery for Noncancer Pain. DWC Evidence Tables and Documents were also provided.