VNS Therapy for Depression – Are we really going to break the bank?

From: Herbert Stein []
Sent: Monday, August 25, 2014 12:55 AM
To: Madam Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell, United States Secretary of Health and Human Services
Subject: VNS Therapy for Depression – Are we really going to break the bank?

Dear Madam Secretary Burwell,

I am always trying to piece together little tidbits of information as I collaborate with another reasonably informed patient to ascertain the enormity of my advocacy for the VNS Therapy volunteer study subjects and patients implanted for depression before the CMS denial of May 4, 2007 that seek to continue with their therapy.  I’ve never received any answer to this question from the sponsor, Cyberonics, when I posed the question to them.  So I keep on searching and recently began to re-extrapolate some figures from the information that’s come available.

This past week I received a telephone call from a representative of CMS in which I asked were they busy helping VNS patients obtain insurance coverage.  The answer was “no”.  Then I quickly listened into the recording of Cyberonics financial teleconference of August 21, 2014.  With the help from this other VNS patient I learned there were two (2) occasions in the teleconference when the depression indication was mentioned.  One mark was at 21:30 minutes into the recording and the other at 45:30 minutes.  I learned there were 28 patients implanted with VNS Therapy for Depression in Cyberonics most recent reported financial quarter and in the prior quarter only 24 patients and as I vaguely recall in the quarter before that only 16.  Furthermore it was stated in this teleconference by the CEO, Mr. Daniel Moore, that they believed most all of these were “replacements”.  This slow increase may well correlate to or be attributed to my advocacy as patients learn that CMS has made some informal accommodations for the Medicare/Medicaid subscribers.

So if I used a number on the high-side such as 40 replacements a quarter that would represent about 160 patients that were benefiting from the therapy who want to continue with their therapy.  Therefore where I previously referred to the “enormity” of my advocacy it may simply boil down to about 160 to 200 patients who have responded to the therapy and achieved a significant degree of wellness and wish to continue.

Why continue this policy of not formally recognizing and caring for this aggrieved patient group through absolutely no fault of their own?  Recognize the serious error and oversight made by CMS and rightfully correct their mistake; now. 

These very, very long-time suffering depression patients have benefited from the VNS Therapy and wish to continue as well as maintain their wellness.  In the long-term it is a significant financial savings to CMS and the health insurers.

Once again, please issue a formal document (i.e. “Compassionate Use”) to insure their medical care now and into the future.  It is the right, humane and honorable thing to do.



Joyce and Herbert Stein

1008 Trailmore Lane

Weston, FL 33326-2816

(954) 349-8733




Disclaimer: This E-Mail is covered by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2510-2521 and is legally privileged. The information contained in this E-Mail is intended only for use of the individual or entity named above. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, or the employee or agent responsible for delivering it to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you receive this E-Mail in error, please notify the sender immediately at the email address and/or phone number above and delete the information from your computer. Please do not copy or use it for any purpose nor disclose its contents to any other person.

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This e-mail message including attachments, if any, is intended only for the person or entity to which it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply e-mail, destroy all copies of the original message, and do not disseminate it further. If you are the intended recipient but do not wish to receive communications through this medium, please advise the sender immediately.


About vnstherapy

I'm a very, very long-time support person and health care and mental health advocate/activist for my spouse Joyce as well as to others. I'm also a retired business executive and former Board Member, President and facilitator of a local chapter of DBSA as well as a Florida State appointment as a Guardian Advocate. I do not endorse, promote or advertise for any therapy, product or company. I do share our personal experiences, my research and knowledge in the hope it might benefit someone or do I give advice as to what one should or shouldn't do. I extend my best wishes for wellness to one and all and all the good you’d wish for yourselves.
This entry was posted in VNS Therapy and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s