CyberKnife Patient Support Group Newsletter
Device Name: CyberKnife System
Indications for Use: To provide treatment planing and image guided stereotactic radiosurgery and precision radiotherapy for lesions, tumors and conditions anywhere in the body when radiation treatment is indicated."
The above notification dated August 10, 2001, was received by Accuray from the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services.
Patient Support Group Dinner
On Friday, July 13, 2001, a special CyberKnife Patient reunion Ceremony and dinner was held at the faculty club located on the Stanford campus. The evening’s events were CO-hosted by members of Stanford’s departments of radiation Oncology and Neurosurgery, and Accuray, Inc. Drs. John Adler, Steven Chang and Iris Gibbs discussed treatment results with the CyberKnife and future developments of this vital medical procedure. After cocktails and picture taking on the verandah, over 80 people including the 40 former CyberKnife patients adjourned inside to enjoy a lovely dinner and to participate in the evening’s events. Dr. John Adler thanked the numerous people in attendance for their confidence and trust in allowing this optional, non invasive procedure to treat their condition and gave a short history of the development of the CyberKnife and the results to date. Drs. Chang and Gibbs also gave short presentations regarding their experiences with this medical procedure. The highlight of the evening was the desire on the part of several patients to share their own personal experiences and the results of their stories were emotional, inspirational and rewarding. The purpose of this evening was to enable patients treated with the CyberKnife to meet, connect, and support fellow patients and to further educate the community at large on this alternative option available today. The evening was a tremendous success and it was the beginning of our newly formed CyberKnife Patient Support Group.
Patient Support Group Meeting
Our first organizational meeting was held on August 22, 2001, in Redwood City at the Seaport Conference Center. Plans were made to ensure that all patients—both past and future—are made aware of the various undertakings our group will be doing, and everyone is invited to become an active participant in this organization.
WE CAN HELP
Medicare has proposed to pay for CyberKnife procedures under the same structure as that offered for radiation therapy. Medicare pays hospitals according to the number of fractions of radiation that are delivered to the patient. Therefore, a hospital performing 4 weeks of radiation therapy will profit less than a hospital performing 6 weeks of radiation therapy. As a result, Medicare is offering incentives to hospitals that perform longer courses of radiation therapy. With respect to the CyberKnife, which typically treats in one single session (fraction) or in some cases 3-5 sessions (fractions), reimbursement of this form is inadequate to cover the cost of the procedure. It would be helpful if all of us would write to Medicare explaining the patient benefits of CyberKnife procedures, i.e. less visits to hospitals, no invasive frame, no or minimal complications, no rehabilitative therapy after surgery, no pain, etc. and explain why it’s so important for Medicare to maintain adequate reimbursement enabling Medicare beneficiaries to have this unique therapy as a treatment option.
Mail written comments (one original and three copies) to the following address no later than September 27th.
Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services
Department of Health and Human Services Attention
Attention: CMS-1159, P.O. Box 8017
Baltimore, MD 21244-8017
Please refer to file code: CMS-1159
Next meeting scheduled for Saturday, September 22, Redwood City, Seaport Convention Center-10:00.
Please advise of any inclusions you wish to make in our newsletter. Your comments, suggestions and ideas are always welcome.
May God bless those victims and families of the horrific events of September 11th and God Bless America.