Psycho-Babble Medication | about biological treatments | Framed
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Re: ''What exactly...?''

Posted by juanantoniod on November 17, 2005, at 18:03:40

In reply to ''What exactly...?'' » juanantoniod, posted by pseudoname on November 17, 2005, at 8:05:41

I'll answer the questions that I know the answers to now, and keep you posted as I get new information, okay?

> •What do they tell you about qualifying for VNS?

Because I am on Medicare, there is no qualifying for VNS. Because it is no longer experimental, and has been approved by FDA for the treatment of chronic depression, having that condition along with a bunch of failed medication trials makes me eligible. If you had a different payor, they would possibly have other requirements, such as a second opinion, pre-authorization, etc.

> •If you raise objections/concerns with the VNS people, how do they respond?

I know this does not specifically answer your question, but from what I can tell, this organization, Cyberonics, is a VERY professional device provider. I have dealt with other device providers because I am on an insulin pump, and not encountered the level of professionalism that I have experienced already in my limited contact with Cyberonics.

> •Do they let you talk to patients who've had it done?

I haven't asked them to do this because I am satisfied, based on the data, that there is a reasonable chance of improvement with little risk to me. I HAVE seen a 'testimonial' from "Karmen", a patient, who spoke at the satellite conference that I viewed through the Internet by accessing it through the professional side of the Cyberonics Website. I have also read the book, Out of the Black Hole, by Charles Donovan, a patient who got VNS as part of the study. From what I can tell, both of them had nothing but positives to say and would do it again if they had the chance.

> •Any problems with your provider paying for it?

They have something like a 98% reimbursement rate for this procedure. Because it has already been used for many years in the treatment of epilepsy, they are experienced at getting payors to pay for it and payors are used to seeing the codes for the procedures. The procedure codes are the same for both, only the diagnosis code is different.

> I've had 2 pdocs in 2 weeks suggest it, but I decided against it for now, mostly because of the remarkably low remission and response rates for an expensive, permanent procedure that has significant complications and leaves scars and often still requires antidepressant meds. And has an as-yet-unknown rate of poop-out. I wish they could better tell who will/won't respond.
> But I'm not ruling it out.

You should call Cyberonics and speak with someone there and ask them to send you a package of information. This would give you an idea of the company's professionalism, and let you see some further information about the procedure.

I will keep you posted with any new developments.




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