National Coverage Determination (NCD)

Leadless Pacemakers


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Tracking Information

Publication Number
Manual Section Number
Manual Section Title
Leadless Pacemakers
Version Number
Effective Date of this Version
Ending Effective Date of this Version
Implementation Date
Implementation QR Modifier Date

Description Information

Benefit Category
Inpatient Hospital Services
Physicians' Services
Prosthetic Devices

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

The leadless pacemaker eliminates the need for a device pocket and insertion of a pacing lead which are integral elements of traditional pacing systems. The removal of these elements eliminate an important source of complications associated with traditional pacing systems while providing similar benefits. Leadless pacemakers are delivered via catheter to the heart, and function similarly to other transvenous single-chamber ventricular pacemakers.

Indications and Limitations of Coverage

B. Nationally Covered Indications

Effective January 18, 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) covers leadless pacemakers through Coverage with Evidence Development (CED). CMS covers leadless pacemakers when procedures are performed in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved studies. CMS also covers, in prospective longitudinal studies, leadless pacemakers that are used in accordance with the FDA approved label for devices that have either:

  • an associated ongoing FDA approved post-approval study; or
  • completed an FDA post-approval study.

Each study must be approved by CMS and as a fully-described, written part of its protocol, must address the following research questions:

  • What are the peri-procedural and post-procedural complications of leadless pacemakers?
  • What are the long term outcomes of leadless pacemakers?
  • What are the effects of patient characteristics (age, gender, comorbidities) on the use and health effects of leadless pacemakers?

CMS will review studies to determine if they meet the 13 criteria listed below. If CMS determines that they meet these criteria, the study will be posted on CMS’ CED website (

  1. The principal purpose of the study is to test whether the item or service meaningfully improves health outcomes of affected beneficiaries who are represented by the enrolled subjects.
  2. The rationale for the study is well supported by available scientific and medical evidence.
  3. The study results are not anticipated to unjustifiably duplicate existing knowledge.
  4. The study design is methodologically appropriate and the anticipated number of enrolled subjects is sufficient to answer the research question(s) being asked in the National Coverage Determination.
  5. The study is sponsored by an organization or individual capable of completing it successfully.
  6. The research study is in compliance with all applicable Federal regulations concerning the protection of human subjects found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 45 CFR Part 46. If a study is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is also in compliance with 21 CFR Parts 50 and 56. In addition, to further enhance the protection of human subjects in studies conducted under CED, the study must provide and obtain meaningful informed consent from patients regarding the risks associated with the study items and/or services, and the use and eventual disposition of the collected data.
  7. All aspects of the study are conducted according to appropriate standards of scientific integrity.
  8. The study has a written protocol that clearly demonstrates adherence to the standards listed here as Medicare requirements.
  9. The study is not designed to exclusively test toxicity or disease pathophysiology in healthy individuals. Such studies may meet this requirement only if the disease or condition being studied is life threatening as defined in 21 CFR §312.81(a) and the patient has no other viable treatment options.
  10. The clinical research studies and registries are registered on the website by the principal sponsor/investigator prior to the enrollment of the first study subject. Registries are also registered in the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Registry of Patient Registries (RoPR).
  11. The research study protocol specifies the method and timing of public release of all prespecified outcomes to be measured including release of outcomes if outcomes are negative or study is terminated early. The results must be made public within 12 months of the study’s primary completion date, which is the date the final subject had final data collection for the primary endpoint, even if the trial does not achieve its primary aim. The results must include number started/completed, summary results for primary and secondary outcome measures, statistical analyses, and adverse events. Final results must be reported in a publicly accessibly manner; either in a peer-reviewed scientific journal (in print or on-line), in an on-line publicly accessible registry dedicated to the dissemination of clinical trial information such as, or in journals willing to publish in abbreviated format (e.g., for studies with negative or incomplete results).
  12. The study protocol must explicitly discuss beneficiary subpopulations affected by the item or service under investigation, particularly traditionally underrepresented groups in clinical studies, how the inclusion and exclusion criteria effect enrollment of these populations, and a plan for the retention and reporting of said populations in the trial. If the inclusion and exclusion criteria are expected to have a negative effect on the recruitment or retention of underrepresented populations, the protocol must discuss why these criteria are necessary.
  13. The study protocol explicitly discusses how the results are or are not expected to be generalizable to affected beneficiary subpopulations. Separate discussions in the protocol may be necessary for populations eligible for Medicare due to age, disability or Medicaid eligibility.

Consistent with section 1142 of the Act, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) supports clinical research studies that CMS determines meet the above-listed standards and address the above-listed research questions.

All clinical research study protocols must be reviewed and approved by CMS. The principal investigator must submit the complete study protocol, identify the relevant CMS research question(s) that will be addressed and cite the location of the detailed analysis plan for those questions in the protocol, plus provide a statement addressing how the study satisfies each of the standards of scientific integrity (a. through m. listed above), as well as the investigator’s contact information, to the address below. The information will be reviewed, and approved studies will be identified on the CMS website.

Director, Coverage and Analysis Group
Re: Leadless Pacemakers CED
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
7500 Security Blvd., Mail Stop S3-02-01
Baltimore, MD 21244-1850
Email address for protocol submissions:
Email subject line: “CED [NCD topic (i.e. Leadless Pacemakers)] [name of sponsor/primary investigator]”

C. Nationally Non-Covered Indications

Leadless pacemakers are non-covered when furnished outside of a CMS approved CED study.

D. Other


(This NCD last reviewed January 2017.)

Cross Reference

CED page

Claims Processing Instructions

Transmittal Information

Transmittal Number
Revision History

07/2017 - Effective Date: 01/18/2017. Implementation Date: 08/29/2017. (TN 201) (CR10117)


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
Leadless Pacemakers 1 01/18/2017 - 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.