Aesculap Implant Systems Announces U.S. Military's TRICARE Now Covers Lumbar Total Disc Replacement

Center Valley, PA (June 4, 2018) –Aesculap Implant Systems, LLC announced today that TRICARE now covers the company's activL® Artificial Disc for active duty and retired military members and their families in need of Lumbar Total Disc Replacement (CPT® procedure code 22857). Aesculap is a privately-held spine and orthopaedic implant company and a U.S. market leader in Lumbar Total Disc Replacement (TDR) with the activL Artificial Disc, a high-value alternative to spinal fusion for chronic low back pain.

In late 2017, Aesculap Implant Systems leadership met with the United States Defense Health Agency and provided critical decision makers from the agency with updated long-term evidence supporting the broader adoption of Lumbar Total Disc Replacement for single-level Degenerative Disc Disease. Evidence presented to the Agency included level 1a meta-analytic data demonstrating the superiority of Lumbar TDR to fusion in this patient population and five-year adjacent segment disease data from the activL Artificial Disc Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) study.

On May 8, 2018 the Agency published a policy stating that they found Lumbar TDR to be proven and medically necessary following their due diligence.

"I greatly respect the Agency's willingness to listen to and truly hear the evidence available for Lumbar TDR and the activL Artificial Disc," said Kim Norton, who heads the Reimbursement and Payer Relations strategy at Aesculap. "It is refreshing to experience their collaboration and appreciation for this procedure, which has been proven to provide better outcomes than fusion in a select patient population," continued Norton.

Along with TRICARE, numerous commercial insurance plans have recently adopted positive coverage policies for Lumbar TDR over the last year. "Over 30 million more Americans now have access to this procedure due to the overwhelming evidence and our efforts," said Norton.

"I have been able to offer my active duty military patients motion-preserving surgeries as an alternative to spinal fusion to treat degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine," said orthopaedic surgeon Anton Jorgensen, who treats military service members. "I am pleased that the same motion-preserving treatments will now be available for our retired military patients and dependents. The long-term value of motion preservation is supported by prospective studies and should be an option for select patients," concluded Dr. Jorgensen.

"I am pleased to learn that I can now offer this life changing procedure to a segment of the population most qualified for it," said orthopaedic surgeon William Reed, MD. Reed, who operates out of Blue Valley Hospital in Kansas City, KS, frequently sees patients with TRICARE. "In general, this population wants to get better and my experience so far has been that lumbar disc replacement with next generation technologies like the activL Artificial Disc makes a great deal of sense for them."

The TRICARE policy is retroactive to November 2017.

Judy Marushak
Senior Project Manager, Corporate Communications
Aesculap Implant Systems, LLC
office: 610-984-9242
toll-free: 800-258-1946, x5242
cell: 610-217-4964


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