NON-MEDICAL NECESSITY COVERAGE AND PAYMENT RULES
For any item to be covered by Medicare, it must 1) be eligible for a defined Medicare benefit category, 2) be reasonable and necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of illness or injury or to improve the functioning of a malformed body member, and 3) meet all other applicable Medicare statutory and regulatory requirements. Information provided in this policy article relates to determinations other than those based on Social Security Act §1862(a)(1)(A) provisions (i.e. “reasonable and necessary”).
Canes and Crutches are covered under the Durable Medical Equipment benefit (Social Security Act §1861(s)(6)). In order for a beneficiary’s equipment to be eligible for reimbursement the reasonable and necessary (R&N) requirements set out in the related Local Coverage Determination must be met. In addition, there are specific statutory payment policy requirements, discussed below, that also must be met.
A white cane for a blind person is noncovered since it is more of an identifying and self-help device than an item which makes a meaningful contribution in the treatment of an illness or injury (see CMS National Coverage Determinations Manual (CMS Pub. 100-03), Chapter 1, Part 4, Section 280.2).
REQUIREMENTS FOR SPECIFIC DMEPOS ITEMS PURSUANT TO Final Rule 1713 (84 Fed. Reg Vol 217)
Final Rule 1713 (84 Fed. Reg Vol 217) requires a face-to-face encounter and a Written Order Prior to Delivery (WOPD) for specified HCPCS codes. CMS and the DME MACs provides a list of the specified codes, which is periodically updated. The link will be located here once it is available.
Claims for the specified items subject to Final Rule 1713 (84 Fed. Reg Vol 217) that do not meet the face-to-face encounter and WOPD requirements specified in the LCD- related Standard Documentation Requirements Article (A55426) will be denied as not reasonable and necessary.
If a supplier delivers an item prior to receipt of a WOPD, it will be denied as not reasonable and necessary. If the WOPD is not obtained prior to delivery, payment will not be made for that item even if a WOPD is subsequently obtained by the supplier. If a similar item is subsequently provided by an unrelated supplier who has obtained a WOPD prior to delivery, it will be eligible for coverage.
POLICY SPECIFIC DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENTS
In addition to policy specific documentation requirements, there are general documentation requirements that are applicable to all DMEPOS policies. These general requirements are located in the DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENTS section of the LCD.
Refer to the LCD-related Standard Documentation Requirements article, located at the bottom of this Policy Article under the Related Local Coverage Documents section for additional information regarding GENERAL DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENTS and the POLICY SPECIFIC DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENTS.
Code A9270 must be used for a white cane for a blind person.
All canes and crutches are billed using the specific codes listed in the Local Coverage Determination regardless of their stated weight capacity. Do not use code E1399 (DME, miscellaneous) to code any type of cane or crutch regardless of special features or weight capacity.
Code E0117 describes an articulating crutch which has two crutch legs connected by a bar between them which helps propel the beneficiary forward.
Code E0118 describes a crutch substitute which can be either a device strapped to the lower leg with a platform or a device with wheels and a platform the beneficiary propels with their sound limb.
Canes or crutches which contain a spring that reduces impact and vibration against the ground should not be billed with E1399. These types of canes or crutches should be coded with the existing codes for canes or crutches.
Suppliers should contact the Pricing, Data Analysis and Coding (PDAC) Contractor for guidance on the correct coding of these items.