STAR™ Total Ankle Replacement Being Covered in Arkansas by QualChoice Health Plans
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--: June 14, 2011 – Small Bone Innovations, Inc. (SBi) announced today that effective March 8, 2011, health plans managed by QualChoice Health Plans, Little Rock, AK, covering almost 50,000 members in Arkansas, will reimburse SBi's STAR™ total ankle replacement system. QualChoice offers a comprehensive line of health benefits and ancillary products on both a fully insured and self-insured basis.
The decision by QualChoice, the second largest health insurer in Arkansas, means that the procedure is now accessible by 95 percent or more than 260 million Americans enrolled in either private or government-funded health plans such as Medicare.
Since SBi's reimbursement consultant, Musculoskeletal Clinical Regulatory Advisers, LLC (MCRA), launched a program in 2009 to communicate clinically proven benefits, comparative effectiveness and overall cost benefits of the STAR ankle, virtually all insurers have revised their policies to provide coverage for total ankle replacement.
The STAR ankle is the only total ankle replacement system ever to be cleared through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) rigorous Premarket Approval (PMA) process. In the PMA process, the STAR ankle's safety and effectiveness was compared with ankle fusion in a multi-center, multi-year, Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) study. The STAR was found to be superior in efficacy and comparable in safety to fusion.
The IDE and other study results also demonstrated that the STAR ankle has better pain relief, greater clinical success, less blood loss and a shorter operating time than fusion – offering the prospect of a new standard of care to patients and their physicians.
A prominent reconstructive foot and ankle surgeon in Little Rock, Jesse B. Burks, DPM, said: "For years the only option for people with severe ankle arthritis was fusion. Nobody likes the idea of having a stiff ankle. The big thing with the STAR ankle is its ability to actually mimic the anatomical function of a good ankle joint resulting in a real step forward in treating this painful condition."
About Small Bone Innovations, Inc.