CMS Ends Reimbursement for TENS Treatment

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CMS announced that it will no longer cover most uses of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for chronic low back pain, according to a MedPage Today report.

In a memo released Friday and effectively immediately, CMS officials wrote that reimbursement for TENS for low back pain will be available only when patients are participating in a randomized, controlled trial to gauge the clinical effectiveness of the treatment.

"TENS is not reasonable and necessary for the treatment of [chronic low back pain]," the memo said. "Long-standing use of a medical treatment is unfortunately no guarantee that it is in fact clinically appropriate or necessary."

Medicare previously paid for FDA-approved TENS equipment and supplies when prescribed by a physician for chronic pain and reimbursed physicians and physical therapists for evaluating patients' suitability for the treatment.

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