PLYMOUTH, MINN. (August 3, 2020) — Monteris Medical, the leader in MRI-guided laser interstitial thermotherapy (LITT or laser ablation), is pleased to announce that health insurance provider Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) has updated its medical coverage policy allowing access to the minimally invasive surgical option using laser ablation for brain tumor patients when medically necessary.
This decision extends the medical coverage issued by BCBSNC in February 2020, that provides coverage of MRI-guided laser ablation for patients with epilepsy when certain established medical criteria are met. This comprehensive coverage decision by BCBSNC represents continued momentum from insurance providers that have recognized the value of laser ablation as a minimally invasive alternative for patients and their physicians who are faced with the need for brain surgery, but for whom a traditional open brain surgery approach may not be appropriate.
Many patients with brain tumors face situations in which traditional open brain surgery is either not possible, or not the preferred approach. In addition, many drug-resistant epilepsy patients may be candidates for surgical intervention when their seizures are not controlled with medication. The NeuroBlate laser ablation system is a tool used to destroy targeted tissue in the brain and provides a minimally invasive alternative to these patients and their physicians. Laser ablation offers the ability to target the destruction of the identified tissue, while often shortening time in the hospital, reducing utilization of intensive care units, and improving the patient's recovery from the procedure.
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"This comprehensive coverage policy issued by BCBSNC represents an important step forward in creating expanded access for patients and physicians dealing with these difficult diagnoses," said Martin J. Emerson, president and chief executive officer of Monteris Medical. "The forward momentum we've seen by other insurance providers, including Aetna and Anthem BCBS, demonstrates that a minimally invasive procedure like LITT, supported by a growing body of clinical evidence, is a critically important option for people suffering from drug-resistant epilepsy and brain tumors."
The BCBSNC policy noted proposed advantages of MRI-guided laser ablation technology over craniotomy for resection due to decreased morbidity from a minimally invasive procedure, faster recovery time, shorter hospital and intensive care stay, an ability to access lesions not amenable to surgery, and presents an alternative to surgery for patients with significant comorbidities.