Second Sight Medical (EYES) Announces Finalized CMS Medicare Outpatient Rate for Argus II

November 2, 2016 7:26 AM EDT

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Second Sight Medical Products, Inc. (Nasdaq: EYES) announced that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized its Medicare hospital outpatient payment rate of $150,000.50 for calendar year 2017. The payment for the surgical procedure includes the cost of the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System ("Argus II").

In addition, the Company announced that the American Medical Association (AMA) Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) Editorial Panel approved two new Category III CPT codes for initial programming and subsequent reprogramming of the Argus II.

These CPT codes will be used by clinicians to report and bill for custom programming and reprogramming the Argus II to meet the unique needs of each patient. With the addition of these two new CPT codes for post-operative programming and reprogramming services, clinicians will be able to report and bill all services relating to implantation and programming the Argus II. The new CPT codes will be published on January 1, 2017 and can be reported by clinicians beginning on July 1, 2017. Previously, the Company obtained a Category III CPT code for the implantation procedure.

"We are very pleased that we have had the support of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in achieving these important milestones in our reimbursement strategy. With the AMA CPT Editorial Panel’s approval of the two new CPT codes, the billing process is simplified. Our clinicians will be able to simply report one of these new codes to bill for custom programming and reprogramming the Argus II after implantation. In addition, with CMS’ announcement of the 2017 hospital outpatient payment rate, the hospitals will be more appropriately reimbursed for providing this important service to blind RP patients," said Will McGuire, President and CEO of Second Sight.

About the Argus® II Retinal Prosthesis System

Second Sight's Argus II System provides electrical stimulation that bypasses the defunct retinal cells and stimulates remaining viable cells inducing visual perception in individuals with severe to profound retinitis pigmentosa (RP). The Argus II works by converting images captured by a miniature video camera mounted on the patient's glasses into a series of small electrical pulses, which are transmitted wirelessly to an array of electrodes implanted on the surface of the retina. These pulses are intended to stimulate the retina's remaining cells, resulting in the perception of patterns of light in the brain. The patient then learns to interpret these visual patterns, thereby regaining some useful vision. The system is controlled by software and is upgradeable, which may provide improved performance as new algorithms are developed and tested. The Argus II is the first artificial retina to receive widespread approval, and is offered at approved centers in Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.

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