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International Advocates for Spine Patients is an international organization partnering physicians, patients and the medical industry to advocate for high quality, widely accessible and cost effective spine care for patients around the world.
I am writing you on behalf of International Advocates for Spine Patients (IASP) as well as the patient population of North Carolina. IASP is an organization supported by physicians and patients dedicated to advocacy for high quality, widely accessible and cost effective spine care for patients around the world. I am on the Board of IASP (a sister organization to the International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery-ISASS) which was formed in 2011 to complement ISASS’ educational and scientific mission through direct advocacy efforts on the behalf of spine patients. I have spent the last 30 years in NC, generally working in healthcare or related fields. [...] I am writing to express serious concerns about numerous factual inaccuracies and omissions on the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina “Let’s Talk Cost” web site.
A new study published and presented by The International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery members Frank M. Phillips, MD, Paul J. Slosar, MD, Jim A. Youssef, MD, Gunnar Andersson, MD, PhD, and Frank Papatheofanis, MD, PhD, has concluded that fusion surgery is viable treatment option for reducing pain and improving function in patients with chronic lower back pain (LBP) refractory to nonsurgical care when a diagnosis of disc degeneration can be made. “Despite large number of publications of outcomes of spinal fusion surgery for chronic LBP, there is little consensus on efficacy,” says Dr. Phillips. “Our goal was to analyze and compile published evidence for lumbar fusion for selected patients with chronic LBP and DDD in order to provide an updated and comprehensive analysis of the clinical outcomes. We found clinically significant improvement in pain scores and functional levels after fusion in randomized studies as well as in prospective observational studies.”