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Capital BlueCross discontinues coverage for controversial device used during gynecological procedures

For more than 75 years, Capital BlueCross has worked to improve the health and safety of the community by evaluating, analyzing and assessing the medical value of various surgical procedures and devices.

Recently, based on a U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommendation, Capital BlueCross determined that there is a significant patient safety concern associated with the use of a laparoscopic Power Morcellator when it is used during gynecological procedures. As a result, effective November 1, 2014, Capital BlueCross will no longer provide payment for any gynecological procedure that involves the use of this medical device.

During gynecological procedures, the Power Morcellator divides tissue into smaller pieces for removal. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently reported that if an undiagnosed malignancy exists, the use of this device could cause the malignancy to spread, making diagnosis and treatment difficult.

There are a number of alternatives to using the Power Morcellator. It is recommended that consumers discuss these gynecological alternatives with their provider, in order to avoid the use of a Power Morcellator until additional studies and testing are completed.

“The safety and long-term health of our customers is vitally important to Capital BlueCross,” said Dr. Jennifer Chambers, senior vice president and chief medical officer. “As a leading health insurer, we are counted on to help safeguard the health of those entrusted to us, which is why we are no longer providing coverage for procedures involving a Power Morcellator. Fortunately, there are a number of alternatives which are proven to be safe for patients in need of certain gynecological procedures.”