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National Coverage Determination (NCD) for Blood-Derived Products for Chronic Non-Healing Wounds (270.3)

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Benefit Category
Incident to a physician's professional Service

Note: This may not be an exhaustive list of all applicable Medicare benefit categories for this item or service.

Item/Service Description

A. General

Wound healing is a dynamic, interactive process that involves multiple cells and proteins. There are three progressive stages of normal wound healing, and the typical wound healing duration is about 4 weeks. While cutaneous wounds are a disruption of the normal, anatomic structure and function of the skin, subcutaneous wounds involve tissue below the skin's surface. Wounds are categorized as either acute, in where the normal wound healing stages are not yet completed but it is presumed they will be, resulting in orderly and timely wound repair, or chronic, in where a wound has failed to progress through the normal wound healing stages and repair itself within a sufficient time period.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is produced in an autologous or homologous manner. Autologous PRP is comprised of blood from the patient who will ultimately receive the PRP. Alternatively, homologous PRP is derived from blood from multiple donors.

Blood is donated by the patient and centrifuged to produce an autologous gel for treatment of chronic, non-healing cutaneous wounds that persist for 30 days or longer and fail to properly complete the healing process. Autologous blood derived products for chronic, non-healing wounds includes both: (1) platelet derived growth factor (PDGF) products (such as Procuren), and (2) PRP.

The PRP is different from previous products in that it contains whole cells including white cells, red cells, plasma, platelets, fibrinogen, stem cells, macrophages, and fibroblasts.

The PRP is used by physicians in clinical settings in treating chronic, non-healing wounds, open, cutaneous wounds, soft tissue and bone. Alternatively, PDGF does not contain cells and was previously marketed as a product to be used by patients at home.


Indications and Limitations of Coverage

B. Nationally Covered Indications

Not applicable.

C. Nationally Noncovered Indications

  1. Effective December 28, 1992, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a national non-coverage determination for platelet-derived wound-healing formulas intended to treat patients with chronic, non-healing wounds. This decision was based on a lack of sufficient published data to determine safety and efficacy, and a public health service technology assessment.
  2. Effective July 23, 2004, upon reconsideration, the clinical effectiveness of autologous PDGF products continues to not be adequately proven in scientific literature. As the evidence is insufficient to conclude that autologous PDGF in a platelet-poor plasma is reasonable and necessary, it remains non-covered for treatment of chronic, non-healing cutaneous wounds. Also, the clinical evidence does not support a benefit in the application of autologous PRP for the treatment of chronic, non-healing, cutaneous wounds. Therefore, CMS determines it is not reasonable and necessary and is nationally non-covered.
  3. Effective April 27, 2006, coverage for treatments utilizing becaplermin, a non-autologous growth factor for chronic, non-healing subcutaneous wounds, remains nationally non-covered under Part B based on section 1861 (s)(2)(A) and (B) of the Social Security Act because this product is usually administered by the patient.
  4. Effective March 19, 2008, upon reconsideration, the evidence is not adequate to conclude that autologous PRP is reasonable and necessary and remains non-covered for the treatment of chronic non-healing, cutaneous wounds. Additionally, upon reconsideration, the evidence is not adequate to conclude that autologous PRP is reasonable and necessary for the treatment of acute surgical wounds when the autologous PRP is applied directly to the closed incision, or for dehiscent wounds.

D. Other

In accordance with section 310.1 of the National Coverage Determinations Manual, the routine costs in Federally sponsored or approved clinical trials assessing the efficacy of autologous PRP in treating chronic, non-healing cutaneous wounds are covered by Medicare.

(This NCD last reviewed March 2008.)


Transmittal Number

83

Revision History

12/1992 - Reflected noncoverage policy. Effective date 12/28/92. (TN 63)

07/2004 - Determined that autologous blood-derived products for chronic non-healing cutaneous wounds, both platelet-derived growth factor in a platelet-poor plasma, and platelet-rich plasma (PRP), remain noncovered. Coverage for becaplermin, a non-autologous growth factor for treatment of chronic non-healing subcutaneous wounds, remain at contractor discretion. Exceptions exist to cover routine costs in Federally sponsored or approved clinical trials assessing efficacy of autologous PRP in treating chronic non-healing cutaneous wounds. Effective and implementation dates 7/23/2004. (TN 19) (CR 3384)

06/2006 - CMS is correcting section 270.3, of the National Coverage Determinations (NCD) manual, entitled Blood-Derived Products for Chronic Non-Healing Wounds, by proposing to delete the following sentences, "Coverage for treatments utilizing becaplermin, a non-autologous growth factor for chronic non-healing subcutaneous non-healing wounds, will remain at local carrier discretion." Becaplermin is approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The correct statement should read, Coverage for treatments utilizing becaplermin, a non-autologous growth factor for chronic non-healing subcutaneous wounds, will remain nationally non-covered. Effective date: 04/27/2006. Implementation date: 07/10/2006. (TN 59) (CR5123)

05/2008 - On March 19, 2008, CMS issued a Decision Memorandum for the use of autologous blood-derived products for the treatment of chronic, non-healing wounds(autologous platelet rich plasma (PRP)) for treatment of acute wounds where PRP is applied directly to the closed incision site, and for dehiscent wounds. CMS issued a non-coverage determination for the use of Autologous PRP for the indications noted above. Current non-coverage for chronic, non-healing cutaneous wounds is maintained. This addition/revision of section 270.3 of Pub. 100-03 is a national coverage determination(NCD). Effective date: 03/19/2008. Implementation date: 06/02/2008. (TN 83) (CR6043)


Other Versions
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