Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries inflicted with spinal stenosis have gained increased access to a new device designed to relieve pain.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved a pass-through payment that will provide additional device payments when the X Stop Interspinous Process Decompression System is implanted in a hospital outpatient setting.

Effective January 1, 2007, the new device pass-through code will include device costs for single- and double-level treatments, and is applicable nationally. Non-device related costs will be reimbursed under newly assigned APC 0050, valued at $1,455.67 per treated level.

The supplemental payments are intended to provide additional funding for new technologies that meet a cost threshold and demonstrate a substantial clinical improvement over existing treatment options.

It is estimated that there are approximately 1.4 million individuals in the United States with a primary or secondary diagnosis of lumbar spinal stenosis.

The X Stop is a less invasive implant designed to treat lumbar spinal stenosis. It is designed to limit extension of the lumbar spine and keep the canal in the lower spine that carries nerves to the legs open, thereby relieving symptoms.

The device is surgically implanted in a minimally invasive procedure that can typically be performed with local anesthesia in less than an hour.