CMS: TENS Not Reasonable and Necessary

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  • June 18, 2012
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Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for chronic low back pain (CLBP) is not reasonable and necessary, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) said in a final decision memo released June 8.
CMS first announced it was reconsidering coverage of TENS for CLBP in a proposed decision memo published March 13.
Throwing advocates of TENS for CLBP a bone, CMS said it will continue to cover the service for the next three years while further research is done, provided the beneficiary is enrolled in an approved clinical study (see the decision memo for study requirements).
A form of pain management, TENS involves the delivery of electric current to the skin through surface electrodes. The service is usually provided by a therapist until the patient is capable of self-administering treatment.

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