SAN DIEGO, Oct. 19, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- TearLab Corporation (Nasdaq:TEAR) (TSX:TLB) announced today that, further to its press release of October 8, 2010, a unique new Current Procedural Terminology ("CPT") code that will apply to the TearLab® Osmolarity test has now been published by the American Medical Association ("AMA"). The new code will become effective January 1, 2011.
The new CPT code for the TearLab Osmolarity test is: 83861; Microfluidic analysis utilizing an integrated collection and analysis device, tear osmolarity (For microfluidic tear osmolarity of both eyes, report 83861 twice). This code falls under the Chemistry sub-section of the Pathology and Laboratory section of the CPT Codebook and will be listed under the Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Reimbursement by CMS has been set at $24.01 per eye and will only be available for offices that have a Moderate Complex CLIA certificate until TearLab receives a CLIA Waiver categorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ("FDA"). This waiver is currently under review by the FDA. Patient co-payments and deductibles do not apply to services paid under the Medicare clinical laboratory fee schedule.
CPT codes are the most widely accepted form of medical nomenclature used to report medical procedures and services under public and private health insurance programs in the U.S. The purpose of the CPT codes is to provide a uniform language that accurately describes medical, surgical, and diagnostic services. Physicians, hospitals, and other health care providers use CPT codes to report medical services to private and public health insurance systems for purposes of reimbursement. A standard system of coding also allows for reliable nationwide data collection. CPT is trademarked by the AMA, which first published the codes in 1966.
Among the AMA's stated criteria for a new Category I CPT code are requirements that: (1) the service/procedure has received approval from the FDA for the specific use of devices or drugs; (2) the service/procedure is a distinct service performed by many physicians/practitioners across the United States; (3) the clinical efficacy of the service/procedure is well established and documented in U.S. peer review literature and (4) the service/procedure is neither a fragmentation of an existing procedure/service nor currently reportable by one or more existing codes.
Elias Vamvakas, TearLab's Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are very pleased that the AMA has created this CPT code that describes the TearLab Osmolarity test. The establishment of this code demonstrates the uniqueness, utility and value of our patented lab-on-a-chip technology."
About The TearLab® Osmolarity System
The TearLab® Osmolarity System uses a novel lab-on-a-chip approach that requires less than 50 nL (nanoliters) of tear fluid in order to measure tear Osmolarity. The TearLab® Osmolarity System eliminates the challenges that previously prevented point-of-care Osmolarity testing. The TearLab® Osmolarity System can produce a sample-to-answer result in less than 30 seconds.
About Dry Eye Disease
DED is a common condition in which the eye does not produce enough tears to keep the surface of the eye sufficiently lubricated. It affects approximately 40 million people in the U.S. and 100 million people worldwide. In its mild to moderate forms, it can impact vision and the ability to go about daily activities. In its more severe forms, DED can lead to permanent loss of vision.
About TearLab Corporation
TearLab Corporation ( www.tearlab.com ) develops and markets lab-on-a-chip technologies that enable eye care practitioners to improve standard of care by objectively and quantitatively testing for disease markers in tears at the point-of-care. The TearLab® Osmolarity Test, for diagnosing Dry Eye Disease, is the first assay developed for the award-winning TearLab® Osmolarity System. Headquartered in San Diego, CA, TearLab Corporation's common shares trade on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the symbol 'TEAR' and on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol 'TLB'.
This press release may contain forward-looking statements. These statements relate to future events and are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions about the Company. These statements are only predictions based on our current expectations and projections about future events. You should not place undue reliance on these statements. Actual events or results may differ materially. Many factors may cause our actual results to differ materially from any forward-looking statement, including the factors detailed in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and Canadian securities regulatory authorities, including but not limited to our Forms 10-K and 10-Q. We do not undertake to update any forward-looking statements.
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