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Response to Comments: MolDX: Genetic Testing for BCR-ABL Negative Myeloproliferative Disease


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Response to Comments: MolDX: Genetic Testing for BCR-ABL Negative Myeloproliferative Disease
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Response to Comments
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Noridian’s Response to Provider Recommendations (for comment period ending 08/10/2015).

Response To Comments

1A commenter indicated he had “serious” concern about stepwise molecular testing for BCR-ABL negative myeloproliferative disease (MPD). He noted the following reasons for MPD:
  • Heterogeneity at presentation;
  • Patients may present with smoldering rising blood counts
  • Some patients with life-threateningly high cell counts; need to diagnose quickly to prevent permanent debilitation due to infarct, sepsis, or bleeding, or death;
  • Testing only on fresh diagnostic material, not FFPE or cryopreserved tissues
  • Sequential testing add turn-around time
  • Differential dx includes, besides myeloproliferative disease, myelodysplasia, CMML, CML, AML, ALL, idiopathic aplastic anemia, hairy cell leukemia, lymphoma, etc.
  • When counts are life-threatening or diagnosis is not completely obvious, initial testing is almost always urgent or emergent bone marrow aspiration and biopsy.
A commenter writes “BCR/ABL and JAK2 should be ordered at the same time rather than JAK2 as a reflex test in patients with suspected PV, ET and PMF. These diseases are by definition BCR/ABL negative (thus requiring that test) and very often JAK2 positive. If they are suspected it does not make sense to delay testing with JAK2 which is critical testing for diagnosis. In other words you know/expect BCR/ABL to be negative so why wait before the next step. … We believe that the sequence should read if PV is suspected and JAK2 is negative then reflex to exon 12 (and consider reflex to MPR/CALR if exon 12 is negative). If ET or PMF are suspected and JAK2 is negative should reflex first to MPL/CALR and only reflex to exon 12 if those are negative.” Numerous commenters indicate that a tiered reflexive approach is often neither the most clinically appropriate nor the most economical method of testing. They note the following:
  • Many labs with next generations (NGS) or non-NGS multi-gene testing methods can test for all five of the genetic variants for this disease in a single assay that is more rapid and less expensive than performing five sequential single-gene assays;
  • Other genes are often included in multi-gene myeloproliferative panels that are not included in this policy such as CSF3R, which is virtually pathognomonic for atypical chronic myeloid leukemia or chronic neutrophilic leukemia.
  • A stepped approach is not optimal because many of these diseases have effective FDA-approved therapies that need to be initiated immediately, citing 2-3 week turn around for sequential testing vs 3-10 days for simultaneous multi-gene or NGS testing
  • Mutations in CBL, TET2, SRSF2 or ASXL1 would favor a diagnosis of CMML
  • Considerable clinical and morphologic overlap exists between various MPNs and some of the MDS/MPNs so a tiered approach is often not applicable.
  • JAK2 is commonly mutated in other myeloid neoplasm (non-MPNs), as well as, age-related clonal hematopoiesis or indeterminate potential.
Noridian appreciates the above important comments, and has changed the policy to include coverage for multi-gene panel or NGS testing. In addition, this contractor agrees that concurrent BCR-ABL and JAK2 testing is medically reasonable and necessary if the clinician is suspicious of a myeloproliferative disease when sequential testing is performed.
2ICD-9 had most myeloproliferative disorders lumped under myelodysplasia. ICD-10 splits them into 2 categories, but sadly clinical overlap exists and labeling one way or the other may be clinically very arbitrary. Many clinicians code patients on the disease they have the highest suspicion of rather than just coding for the abnormal cell counts. ICD-10, with its specificity for “cause of abnormal blood counts” and EHR records that force certain codes to be used, may be more problematic.Agree.
3An LCD must be written with much forethought and concern for not missing caveats of specific clinical circumstances, and should not create an access to care issue for patients with rare diseases or rare genetic abnormalities. Ideally, a lab with initial diagnostic testing should not allow repeat testing if negative initially. However, some patients with emergency complications may not be facile giving good information about prior testing under emergency circumstances. This is also complicated when a patient presents to a new health care system, and as a result of the very primitive interoperability of electronic health records.Policies are designed for the usual circumstances or norm. The appeals process is designed to accommodate the unusual or rare situations that fall outside of the norm, with supporting documentation in the patient’s medical record.
4The commenter writes: “If BCR-ABL testing and all of the other single genes are to be covered when performed as part of these multi-gene panels, we recommend that 81401, 81405, 81406, 81445, 81450 and 81455 be covered to allow appropriate (lower cost) payment.”A panel by definition has a single unit of service (UOS). Regardless of whether a panel has 2 or 10 or 100 component parts, the UOS is 1, not the number of component parts. Consequently, a molecular panel must be assigned 81479, 81445, 81450 or 81455, as appropriate to the descriptor. Reimbursement of multi-gene panels and NGS does not consist of the cumulative reimbursement of individual Tier1 or 2 CPT codes. Individual CPT Tier 1 and Tier 2 codes can only be submitted on claims when the testing is performed sequentially, and NOT a component in a panel.
5Twenty-two additional ICD-10 codes were requested to be added to the policy. Agree with the ICD-10 codes which have been added to the policy.
6A commenter writes that “CALR is far more useful than MPL/CALR, we recommend that this message be made apparent in the policy. The commenter notes appreciation for CALR coverage, but posits that it should not require a negative JAK2 exon 12 result first. The policy reflects the usefulness of CALR over MPL. However, the policy does not require a negative JAK2 exon 12 result prior to CALR coverage, rather it requires a negative JAK2 V617F mutation.

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  • MolDX
  • Genetic Testing
  • BCR-ABL Negative Myeloproliferative