National Coverage Determination (NCD)

Nebulized Beta Adrenergic Agonist Therapy for Lung Diseases


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Tracking Information

Publication Number
Manual Section Number
Manual Section Title
Nebulized Beta Adrenergic Agonist Therapy for Lung Diseases
Version Number
Effective Date of this Version
Ending Effective Date of this Version
Implementation Date
Implementation QR Modifier Date

Description Information

Benefit Category
Durable Medical Equipment

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

Item/Service Description

A. General

Lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma are characterized by airflow limitation that may be partially or completely reversible. Pharmacologic treatment with bronchodilators is used to prevent and/or control daily symptoms that may cause disability for persons with these diseases. These medications are intended to improve the movement of air into and from the lungs by relaxing and dilating the bronchial passageways. Beta adrenergic agonists are a commonly prescribed class of bronchodilator drug. They can be administered via nebulizer, metered dose inhaler, orally, or dry powdered inhaler.

Nebulized beta adrenergic agonist with racemic albuterol has been used for many years. More recently, levalbuterol, the (R) enantiomer of racemic albuterol, has been used in some patient populations. There are concerns regarding the appropriate use of nebulized beta adrenergic agonist therapy for lung disease.

Indications and Limitations of Coverage

B. Nationally Covered Indications


C. Nationally Non-Covered Indications


D. Other

After examining the available medical evidence, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services determines that no national coverage determination is appropriate at this time. Section 1862(a)(1)(A) of the Social Security Act decisions should be made by local Medicare Administrative Contractors through a local coverage determination process or case-by-case adjudication. See Heckler v. Ringer, 466 U.S. 602, 617 (1984) (Recognizing that the Secretary has discretion to either establish a generally applicable rule or to allow individual adjudication.). See also, 68 Fed. Reg. 63692, 63693 (November 7, 2003).

Cross Reference
Claims Processing Instructions

Transmittal Information

Transmittal Number
Revision History

12/2007 - Provided noncoverage policy. Effective date 09/10/2007. (TN 79) (CR5820)


National Coverage Analyses (NCAs)

This NCD has been or is currently being reviewed under the National Coverage Determination process. The following are existing associations with NCAs, from the National Coverage Analyses database.

Coding Analyses for Labs (CALs)

This NCD has been or is currently being reviewed under the National Coverage Determination process. The following are existing associations with CALs, from the Coding Analyses for Labs database.

Additional Information

Other Versions
Title Version Effective Between
Nebulized Beta Adrenergic Agonist Therapy for Lung Diseases 1 09/10/2007 - N/A You are here
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Reasons for Denial
Note: This section has not been negotiated by the Negotiated RuleMaking Committee. It includes CMS’s interpretation of it’s longstanding policies and is included for informational purposes. Tests for screening purposes that are performed in the absense of signs, symptoms, complaints, or personal history of disease or injury are not covered except as explicity authorized by statue. These include exams required by insurance companies, business establishments, government agencies, or other third parties. Tests that are not reasonable and necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of an illness or injury are not covered according to the statue. Failure to provide documentation of the medical necessity of tests may result in denial of claims. The documentation may include notes documenting relevant signs, symptoms, or abnormal findings that substantiate the medical necessity for ordering the tests. In addition, failure to provide independent verification that the test was ordered by the treating physician (or qualified nonphysician practitioner) through documentation in the physician’s office may result in denial. A claim for a test for which there is a national coverage or local medical review policy will be denied as not reasonable and necessary if it is submitted without an ICD-9-CM code or narrative diagnosis listed as covered in the policy unless other medical documentation justifying the necessity is submitted with the claim. If a national or local policy identifies a frequency expectation, a claim for a test that exceeds that expectation may be denied as not reasonable and necessary, unless it is submitted with documentation justifying increased frequency. Tests that are not ordered by a treating physician or other qualified treating nonphysician practitioner acting within the scope of their license and in compliance with Medicare requirements will be denied as not reasonable and necessary. Failure of the laboratory performing the test to have the appropriate Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act of 1988 (CLIA) certificate for the testing performed will result in denial of claims.