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VNUS Medical Technologies Achieves Two Major Milestones: Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Recognition of Closure Procedure And New Medicare Pass-Through Device Code for the Closure Catheter.

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- VNUS Medical Technologies announced today that the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association has drafted for its member Plans a favorable medical policy for the VNUS Closure(R) procedure. In addition the company reported Medicare is establishing a new device category code which will allow hospital outpatient departments to bill for the Closure catheter, effective July 1, 2002.

BCBS Association Coverage Recognition for VNUS Closure Procedure

In establishing its recommendation, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Medical Policy Panel completed a thorough analysis of clinical evidence for the Closure procedure. Brian Farley, President and CEO of VNUS Medical Technologies commented, "We are delighted that after careful scientific scrutiny, the BCBSA Medical Policy Panel advised BCBS Plans that the Closure procedure could be considered medically necessary as a therapeutic alternative to vein stripping surgery for appropriately selected patients. This is the result of the efforts of numerous physicians who have carefully studied and published in prestigious medical journals, the clinical outcomes produced by the VNUS Closure procedure."

Locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield member companies around the U.S. now have available to them positive medical policy advice for the Closure procedure, from which the member companies can establish independent policy decisions.

The positive decision by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association complements a national coverage policy for the Closure procedure by Aetna/US Healthcare. With positive policies from two of the largest private insurers in the United States, the Closure procedure may now be more accessible than ever to patients.

Medicare Pass-Through Category Code for the Closure Catheter

Medicare has determined that the VNUS Closure (ablation) catheter qualifies as a new medical device under the hospital outpatient prospective payment system and effective July 1, 2002, is establishing a new device category code which will allow hospitals who use the catheter in outpatient treatments for Medicare patients to receive a supplemental pass-through payment for the catheter in addition to the out-patient APC payment for the procedure. Under the hospital outpatient prospective payment system, Medicare establishes new device category codes for certain new medical devices that show substantial clinical improvement (as defined by Medicare) compared to currently available treatments, and meet other requirements.

Mr. Farley concluded, "The achievement of these key milestones which together represent a robust independent recognition of the clinical benefits of the Closure procedure are a result of a patient and clinically-oriented focus by VNUS Medical Technologies. We are pleased to see that patients with saphenous vein reflux and painful varicose veins now have greater access to a broadened choice of therapeutic options."

About The Closure Procedure

The Closure procedure involves a thin catheter that is inserted into a diseased vein to controllably heat the vein causing it to collapse and seal as the catheter is slowly withdrawn from the vein. The catheter is connected to a radiofrequency generator that constantly controls the vein temperature to guide effective therapeutic heating and sealing of the vein. The Closure catheter and procedure provides a minimally invasive alternative to vein stripping surgery and has been demonstrated in clinical trials to reduce post-operative pain and recovery time compared to vein stripping surgery. Previously published reports have shown that two years after treatment, 90% of treated legs are free of saphenous reflux and symptoms.

About VNUS Medical Technologies, Inc.

VNUS Medical Technologies, founded in 1995, is a privately held company and world leader in the development and commercialization of products for minimally invasive treatment of venous disease. The company currently markets the proprietary Closure System of products for patients who suffer from symptoms associated with venous reflux. The Closure system was cleared for marketing in the U.S. in March 1999. Since then, over 12,000 patients have received the Closure procedure and numerous studies have shown the Closure procedure provides substantial benefits to patients. For more information please visit the company's web site at http://www.vnus.com/.

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Contact: Brian E. Farley, President and Chief Executive Officer of VNUS Medical Technologies, Inc., +1-888-797-vein (8346), or fax, +1-408-944-0292, or bfarley@vnus.com

Website: http://www.vnus.com/
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Comment:VNUS Medical Technologies Achieves Two Major Milestones: Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Recognition of Closure Procedure And New Medicare Pass-Through Device Code for the Closure Catheter.
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Date:Jun 6, 2002
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