The fourth largest U.S. commercial health insurer, Health Care Service Corporation, has issued a medical coverage policy for the LINX Reflux Management System, an alternative to surgical fundoplication for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease, according to a press release from the manufacturer.
The LINX Reflux Management System (magnetic sphincter augmentation, Torax Medical) entails a minimally invasive laparoscopic implantation of a small device made of interlinked titanium beads with magnetic cores, which prevents reflux by augmenting the esophageal sphincter’s barrier function, according to the press release.
Effective April 1, the policy makes the LINX procedure available to about 15 million HCSC members through its Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliates in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
The policy was prompted by data from multiple peer-reviewed studies demonstrating the safety, efficacy and durability of the procedure; advocacy from the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons, The American Society of General Surgery and the Texas Society of Gastroenterology and Endoscopy; and the American Medical Association’s decision to create a Category 1 Current Procedural Terminology Code for the procedure, according to the press release.
“Many patients referred for anti-reflux surgery are concerned about losing the ability to vomit and belch or the fact that their gastric anatomy will need to be altered, which is required with fundoplication surgery,” F. Paul Buckley III, MD, surgical director of the Heartburn and Acid Reflux Center at Baylor Scott and White, said in the press release. “LINX offers a needed alternative for these patients by providing excellent relief from GERD and preserving their ability to belch and vomit. We continue to see great results with LINX in our center.”
Disclosure: Buckley is a preceptor for Torax.