March 28, 2019

ISASS policy statements highlight evolving evidence and literature in recently published bone graft substitute and vertebral augmentation statements

The International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery released two new statements: one focused on bone graft substitutes and the other examining vertebral augmentation. The bone graft substitute statement outlines historical use and U.S. regulatory pathways for bone grafts, including nonstructural allografts, demineralized bone grafts, cellular-based allografts, synthetic bone grafts, autologous cellular grafts and Class III drug-device combination products. “Bone grafting is an essential part of spinal surgery and ever-evolving science,” concluded the recommendation authors. “With each new advance, one needs to understand the characteristics of material, its mechanism of action, the regulatory pathway by which it came to market and the preclinical and human clinical evidence available on which to base a clinical use decision.” The authors found: Nonstructural cancellous allograft […]
February 26, 2019

AMA CPT Editorial Panel Issues Draft Updated Evaluation and Management (E/M) Codes

The AMA CPT Editorial Panel approved draft changes to a series of Evaluation and Management (E/M) service CPT codes at its February 2019 CPT Editorial Panel meeting attended by ISASS representatives.  The changes had been developed by a Joint Workgroup of AMA CPT and AMA RUC members, which held multiple stakeholder calls and meetings across a series of months.  These calls and meetings were attended by ISASS CPT Advisor Dr. James Yue and ISASS Alternate CPT Advisor Dr. Morgan Lorio.  The code change proposals are intended to make it easier to document patient visits and reduce regulatory burden on physician and physician staff. In the next few weeks, medical societies will be conducting AMA/Specialty Society RVS (Relative Value Scale) Update […]
February 26, 2019

ISASS Publishes Policy Statements on Bone Graft Procedures and Vertebral Augmentation

ISASS has published a new policy statement on Bone Grafting procedures and an updated policy on Vertebral Augmentation. These policies are based on review by clinical experts and reviewed and published in the International Journal of Spine Surgery, the official ISASS journal, in February 2019. Links to the policy statements can be found on the ISASS website. Bone Graft Policy Updated Vertebral Augmentation Policy
February 26, 2019

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Make Hospital Charges Available to the Public

For the first time, the federal government has made public chargemaster data for the 100 most common Medicare inpatient diagnostic related groups or DRGs. The data show that hospital prices often vary widely, even within the same within the same city or region. The massive file contains chargemaster data, or what some call the “sticker price,” for the 100 most common Medicare inpatient DRGs. The data does not include physician costs and does not show prices paid by Medicare. But it does provide an inside look at how average covered Medicare charges can significantly vary from hospital to hospital within the same city or geographic area. The data is for 3,400 hospitals and represents 92% of all hospital inpatient charges in […]