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National Coverage Analysis (NCA) Tracking Sheet for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation for Chronic Low Back Pain (CAG-00429N)

In 2010, the Therapeutic and Technology Assessment Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) published a report finding transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) ineffective for chronic low back pain.

TENS units are usually small, portable battery operated devices which apply an electrical current to the skin for the intent of pain relief. Stimulation parameters such as pulse width, pulse frequency, wave pattern, frequency and intensity are varied in both clinical usage and the research literature. These parameters are often determined for individual patients by a trial and error method which requires several sessions of skilled therapy.

CMS will review available evidence on the use of TENS for the treatment of chronic low back pain. We are particularly interested in receiving evidence speaking to the health outcomes attributable to the use of TENS in home settings.

As we are considering coverage under Section 1862(a)(1)(A) and Section 1862(a)(1)(E) of the Social Security Act, we also encourage the submission of comments that would pertain to clinical studies falling under the Coverage with Evidence Development (CED) paradigm.

Durable Medical Equipment
Requestor Name(s)Internal request
Formal Request Accepted and Review Initiated09/13/2011
Expected NCA Completion Date06/11/2012
Public Comment Period09/13/2011 - 10/13/2011
Proposed Decision Memo Released03/13/2012
Proposed Decision Memo Public Comment Period: 03/13/2012 - 04/12/2012 
Decision Memo Released06/08/2012
Comments for this NCA:View Public Comments
Lead Analyst(s)
Lead Medical Officer(s)
  • Susan Miller, MD

September 13, 2011

CMS opens this NCA in order to review the evidence on the use of TENS for the treatment of chronic low back pain. The initial 30 day public comment period begins with this posting date and ends after 30 calendar days. CMS considers all public comments. We are particularly interested in receiving evidence speaking to the health outcomes attributable to the use of TENS in home settings.

Instructions on submitting comments can be found at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/InfoExchange/02_publiccomments.asp#TopOfPage

March 13, 2012

June 8, 2012

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