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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    3

    Unhappy Starting Trial Soon, 2 Questions of What to Expect

    My PTP (a pain management specialist) has been recommending in his monthly reports to IC, the trial for a Medtronics SCS for approx 28 months now . Meanwhile I have been using TENS Units to help with the pain. IC has not approved the trial of the SCS as they state that they want to exhaust all other avenues before commencing a one week trial. In September 2008 I reached that point and they still do not want to authorize the trial of the SCS. My attorney has since been in contact with opposing counsel and we have had 1 informal meeting about settlement. The number on future medical care that was discussed does not at all seem “realistic” to me as the cost alone of the medtronics device from my research is significantly more considering the life span of the device and how often it needs to be replaced.

    I was given the task from my attorney to try to get a “cost summary” list for this device along with the surgical procedure and any other costs. I have asked my PTP to inform my attorney of all this but it seems a bit confusing to me why it is not easily available. I am told that the PTP just bills this out using codes, and the billing dept. takes care of this with the surgical center and the vendor. I get the funny feeling that I am getting the run around because I am not asking the correct questions for an “itemized cost summary” list Can anyone offer an idea what items I need to include in the cost of this procedure along with future medical care or at least what terminology I should be using?

    One more question, we will begin trial in early February, after being rescheduled many times. What do I expect on this day if we do indeed start? Do most “trials” last a day or many days? If they need to be continued, are they scheduled reasonably soon or weeks later? Would it be wise for me to show up with all my files in regards to my case or do I solely rely on my attorney to have everything I have? What am I not thinking of? If the WCAB Judge rules in my favor, how long would one guess it would take an IC to get things rolling for my much needed surgical trial then implementation if everything goes as hoped for?

    Thank you all who take the time to read this and respond,
    Whiskey Papa

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    9,109

    Default Re: Starting Trial Soon, 2 Questions of What to Expect

    vendors can be a big help. I'd contact the local medtronic rep -they might get you the information or point you in the right direction.
    length of trials vary tremendously depending on the parties involved-especially if multiple witnesses will be called.
    P.s.
    attys will do a lot to avoid a hearing - expect a cancellation or postponement or maybe a settlement.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    132

    Default Re: Starting Trial Soon, 2 Questions of What to Expect

    A spinal cord stimulator is a costly proposition, which is why they are trying everything else to avoid providing the trial period to see if helps relieve pain. The reason you are having difficulty finding the costs is it depends on the MPN, PPO and other discounts that the IC may impose on the costs of the surgery. The price of a SCS trial can cost around $30k, and if the unit is effective and installed on a more permanent basis, the unit itself can be $20k to $30k, plus the costs of surgery itself which is again varied in price depending on a number of facts like where it is done, PPO provider network facility etc.
    If the SCS is permanent, there are maintenance costs every year of a few thousand, every 5 years I think they have to change the batteries, costs for a surgery again, etc. Total costs are hard to gauge from limited information.

    As for the trial, it can be postponed depending on other trials that the Judge may have carried over, so it could be a few times appearing before trial goes, but you may get lucky and go the first appearance.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Starting Trial Soon, 2 Questions of What to Expect

    Thank you for some insight to the SCS and trial hearings. Tomorrow I will try to contact the local Medtronics Rep and see where that leads me. Earlier today I tried to call 3 other PMS to see if I could get some idea from their office staff twhat that particular Dr. charged for office visits and that I was looking to compare prices for a cash deal for a SCS. My idea was to see if I could come up with a cost summary for this procedure. Mission failed. Again, I was told that each of them had an out of office billing person who took care of the billings for the individual Drs.

    ????

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    9,109

    Default Re: Starting Trial Soon, 2 Questions of What to Expect

    if you are very energetic you can pour through the fee schedule and try to come up with some numbers. work comp fees are complex
    http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/OMFS9904.htm

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    329

    Default Re: Starting Trial Soon, 2 Questions of What to Expect

    Your in luck my friend. I have a perm. stimulator installed in me.

    The batteries last about 2 years.

    If you want to get alot of info call this lady.

    Allison Buckley: 1-800-727-7846 ext 7168. This is her voice mail.

    818-808-7160 is her mobil phone.

    Or, you can email her at allison.buckley@ans-medical.com

    I hope this helps, if you can't find out costs of the proceedure, I can give you my Drs. name, and he might tell you what it costs.

    Good luck, and it sucks to have RSD/CRPS.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Starting Trial Soon, 2 Questions of What to Expect

    Thank you .sh and Dolphins for the info you have shared. I have left a message with Allison Buckley asking her to call me.

    I will keep checking back and post what info she has shared with me.

    thanks again,
    Whiskey Papa

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