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Second Sight

CMS Approves New Technology Add-on Payment and Pass-Through Payment for the Argus® II Retinal Prosthesis System

Payments May Facilitate Beneficiary Access to Argus II in both Inpatient and Outpatient Settings


Sylmar, CA- August 15, 2013 — Second Sight Medical Products, Inc., the leading developer of retinal prostheses for the blind, today announced that The Argus® II Retinal Prosthesis System (Argus II) has been approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for both a new technology add-on payment (inpatient setting of care) and a transitional pass through payment (outpatient setting of care) beginning October 1, 2013.  These payments are designed to support timely access to innovative technologies for Medicare beneficiaries.

Hospital inpatient procedures utilizing the Argus II System will be reported with a new ICD-9-CM procedure code 14.81. For procedures performed in the hospital outpatient and ambulatory surgery center settings, the Argus II System will be reported with a new device pass-through HCPCS code C1841. 

“We are excited that CMS recognizes that the Argus II provides a substantial clinical benefit to patients and meets all of the criteria for both of these payments. This news greatly facilitates access to the Argus II for Medicare beneficiaries regardless of the setting of care in which the system is provided,” said Brian Mech, VP of Business Development at Second Sight.

Guideline information on billing, coding and payment for hospital outpatient departments and ASCs will be provided by CMS in the October quarterly update which will be released on or before September 1st.

About Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP)

RP is an inherited retinal degenerative disease that often results in near-complete blindness. It is caused by abnormalities of the photoreceptors (rods and cones) or the retinal pigment epithelium of the retina, leading to progressive loss of vision. It’s estimated that RP affects roughly 100,000 Americans.

About the Argus II System

The Argus II System works by converting video images captured by a miniature camera housed in the patient’s glasses into a series of small electrical pulses that are transmitted wirelessly to an array of electrodes on the surface of the retina. These pulses are intended to stimulate the retina’s remaining cells, resulting in the corresponding perception of patterns of light in the brain. The patient then learns to interpret these visual patterns, thereby regaining some visual function. The Argus II, which received FDA approval earlier this year under a Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE) following European approval (CE Mark) in 2011, is intended to help the most severely affected RP patients. In the US this includes patients with bare light perception or worse vision.

About Second Sight

Second Sight Medical Products, Inc., located near Los Angeles, California, was founded in 1998 to create a retinal prosthesis to provide sight to patients blinded from outer retinal degenerations such as RP. Through dedication and innovation, Second Sight's mission is to develop, manufacture and market implantable visual prosthetics to enable blind individuals to achieve greater independence. US Headquarters are in Sylmar, CA, and European Headquarters are in Lausanne, Switzerland. For more information, visit

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