The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries has adopted a new Health Technology Clinical Committee coverage determination about surgery for lumbar radiculopathy/sciatica, effective November 1, 2018.
Surgeries for lumbar radiculopathy/sciatica are covered, with conditions.
Conditions of Coverage:
Open discectomy or microdiscectomy with or without endoscopy (lumbar laminectomy, laminotomy, discectomy, foraminotomy) are covered with the following conditions:
For adult patients with lumbar radiculopathy with subjective and objective neurologic findings that are corroborated with an advanced imaging test (i.e., Computed Tomography (CT) scan, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or myelogram), AND
There is a failure to improve with a minimum of six weeks of non-surgical care, unless progressive motor weakness is present
Minimally invasive procedures that do not include laminectomy, laminotomy, or foraminotomy including but not limited to energy ablation techniques, Automated Percutaneous Lumbar Discectomy (APLD), percutaneous laser, nucleoplasty, etc. are not covered.
The State Health Technology Clinical Committee (HTCC) reviewed surgery for lumbar radiculopathy/sciatica in May 2018 and finalized the determination on July 13, 2018. Complete information on this HTCC determination is available here.
In adopting this HTCC coverage determination, the Department has concluded that the determination does not conflict with any state statute. Any coverage for investigational treatment would be considered per WAC 296-20-02850. Any coverage for health technologies that have a FDA Humanitarian Device Exemption status would be considered per RCW 70.14.120 (1) (b).
Implementation of the Coverage Decision:
All requests for surgery for lumbar radiculopathy/sciatica require prior authorization. The service may be covered only for care of a condition accepted on or related to the claim.