B. Nationally Covered Indications
The following indications are covered nationally unless otherwise indicated:
Computer analysis of EKGs when furnished in a setting and under the circumstances required for coverage of other EKG services.
EKG services rendered by an IDTF, including physician review and interpretation. Separate physician services are not covered unless he/she is the patient’s attending or consulting physician.
Emergency EKGs (i.e., when the patient is or may be experiencing a life-threatening event) performed as a laboratory or diagnostic service by a portable x-ray supplier only when a physician is in attendance at the time the service is performed or immediately thereafter.
Home EKG services with documentation of medical necessity.
Transtelephonic EKG transmissions (effective March 1, 1980) as a diagnostic service for the indications described below, when performed with equipment meeting the standards described below, subject to the limitations and conditions specified below. Coverage is further limited to the amounts payable with respect to the physician’s service in interpreting the results of such transmissions, including charges for rental of the equipment. The device used by the beneficiary is part of a total diagnostic system and is not considered DME separately. Covered uses are to:
- Detect, characterize, and document symptomatic transient arrhythmias;
- Initiate, revise, or discontinue arrhythmic drug therapy; or,
- Carry-out early post-hospital monitoring of patients discharged after myocardial infarction (MI); (only if 24-hour coverage is provided, see C.5. below).
Certain uses other than those specified above may be covered if, in the judgment of the local Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC), such use is medically necessary.
Additionally, the transmitting devices must meet at least the following criteria:
- They must be capable of transmitting EKG Leads, I, II, or III; and,
- The tracing must be sufficiently comparable to a conventional EKG.
24-hour attended coverage used as early post-hospital monitoring of patients discharged after MI is only covered if provision is made for such 24-hour attended coverage in the manner described below:
24-hour attended coverage means there must be, at a monitoring site or central data center, an EKG technician or other non-physician, receiving calls and/or EKG data; tape recording devices do not meet this requirement. Further, such technicians should have immediate, 24-hour access to a physician to review transmitted data and make clinical decisions regarding the patient. The technician should also be instructed as to when and how to contact available facilities to assist the patient in case of emergencies.
C. Nationally Non-Covered Indications
The following indications are non-covered nationally unless otherwise specified below:
The time-sampling mode of operation of ambulatory EKG cardiac event monitoring/recording.
Separate physician services other than those rendered by an IDTF unless rendered by the patient’s attending or consulting physician.
Home EKG services without documentation of medical necessity.
Emergency EKG services by a portable x-ray supplier without a physician in attendance at the time of service or immediately thereafter.
24-hour attended coverage used as early post-hospital monitoring of patients discharged after MI unless provision is made for such 24-hour attended coverage in the manner described in section B.5. above.
Any marketed Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved ambulatory cardiac monitoring device or service that cannot be categorized according to the framework below.
Ambulatory cardiac monitoring performed with a marketed, FDA-approved device, is eligible for coverage if it can be categorized according to the framework below. Unless there is a specific NCD for that device or service, determination as to whether a device or service that fits into the framework is reasonable and necessary is according to local MAC discretion.
Electrocardiographic Services Framework
Pre-symptom memory loop
Post-symptom (no memory loop) _____ Non-attended
Continuous Recorders ________Dynamic Electrocardiography _______ Non-attended
(e.g., Holter. Monitor)