CardioFocus, developer of the HeartLight Endoscopic Ablation System for atrial fibrillation treatment, has announced that the German Institute of Medical Documentation and Information (DMDI) has issued a unique classification code (OPS), code 8-835.e, for treatment of the pulmonary veins by laser ablation guided by endovascular endoscopy for patients with atrial fibrillation (AF).
Use of the new code allows the DMDI to track the number of patients being treated with this particular technique and provides the initial step to receiving a specific diagnosis-related group (DRG) code for the procedure.
As a result of the issuance, according to the company, hospitals using the CardioFocus HeartLight Endoscopic Ablation System can now apply for supplementary payments from insurers using the “Neue Untersuchungs- und Behandlungsmethoden (NUB)”. The NUB system encourages the use of new technologies, like the Heartlight Endoscopic Ablation System, that benefit patients, but do not yet fit adequately into the present reimbursement coding system.
“We have been using the HeartLight endoscopic ablation system for nearly two years and are very impressed with both the results of our own experience and of the published clinical data, which continues to support the idea that this approach can be more effective and lead to fewer repeat procedures for patients,” said Thorsten Lewalter, Isar Heart Center Munich, Germany. “This is a benefit to both the patient and the healthcare system providing reimbursement for the procedure. However, at present the technique could be better reimbursed and we think the OPS code and our NUB application are a step in the right direction to rectify this situation.”
At this year’s European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress an abstract authored by Boris Schmidt and other researchers from the Cardioangiologisches Centrum Bethanien in Frankfurt, Germany, found that patients treated with the HeartLight Endoscopic Ablation System have a significantly lower rate of arrhythmia recurrence in comparison to procedures employing the cryothermal balloon catheter. The reduction in the number of repeat procedures provides a benefit to both patients, as well as insurance companies, as it decreases costs.