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Blue Cross/Blue Shield Of Massachusetts Introduces Controversial Criteria For Vein Treatment Reimbursement

The Spring issue of VEIN magazine reports on an alarming and controversial policy change made by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBS). This change could have a serious, negative impact on the entire venous community--from patients to physicians to the businesses that provide vein-related goods and services.

Irvine, CA (PRWEB) May 13, 2009 -- As of mid April, 2009, BCBS has mandated that in the state of Massachusetts, only three kinds of physicians will be eligible to get paid for the removal of varicose veins using Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) and Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLT). Moreover, these surgeons must perform the procedures, which are rapidly replacing the conventional vein stripping method, in facilities that have gone through a lengthy certification process.

The three kinds of physicians eligible for payment are: interventional radiologists, vascular surgeons, and general surgeons. The American College of Radiology (ACR) or the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Vascular Laboratories (ICAVL) must approve their treatment sites.

BCBS claims that the initiative was driven by quality of care. They say there has been such explosive growth in RFA and EVLT in the last five years, and such a drastic and myriad influx of doctors performing them, that they could not be certain that everyone offering RFT and EVLT was truly and safely qualified.

However, most physicians and industry insiders cry foul, and with good reason. The risks associated with RFA and EVLT are actually lower than with conventional vein stripping, and recovery time is a fraction of what it used to be in terms of both time and discomfort. Many physicians possess the basic skill set to perform the procedures, and have taken advantage of opportunities to increase their knowledge of superficial venous disease and its treatment. It is generally believed, among medical specialists, that BCBS's move is just another in a long history of cost-cutting measures. The formula, they say, is simple: as the safety and accessibility of a procedure increase, so does the number of people being treated, particularly for a common, uncomfortable, and unsightly condition. More vein patients mean more claims, and every claim paid means a less robust bottom line for the insurer and its shareholders.

About VEIN Magazine
VEIN Magazine, a publication of, is an exclusive publication of topics relating to venous diseases, ranging from interviews with leading phlebologists and case studies, to the business of phlebology practice and medically relevant marketing details. The creation of VEIN was in response to the tremendous growth and interest of physicians who treat varicose veins, as well as other venous and vascular disorders.

Offering online health and wellness information for a better life, is one of the nation's leading health, fitness and medical online referral and resource directories. Its online directories include: for liposuction and tummy tuck procedures, for smartlipo, for fertility treatments, and many others.


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