National Coverage Determination (NCD)

Pancreas Transplants


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Tracking Information

Publication Number
Manual Section Number
Manual Section Title
Pancreas Transplants
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

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

Pancreas transplantation is performed to induce an insulin-independent, euglycemic state in diabetic patients. The procedure is generally limited to those patients with severe secondary complications of diabetes, including kidney failure. However, pancreas transplantation is sometimes performed on patients with labile diabetes and hypoglycemic unawareness.

Indications and Limitations of Coverage

B. Nationally Covered Indications

Effective for services performed on or after July 1, 1999, whole organ pancreas transplantation is nationally covered by Medicare when performed simultaneous with or after a kidney transplant. If the pancreas transplant occurs after the kidney transplant, immunosuppressive therapy begins with the date of discharge from the inpatient stay for the pancreas transplant.

Effective for services performed on or after April 26, 2006, pancreas transplants alone (PA) are reasonable and necessary for Medicare beneficiaries in the following limited circumstances:

  1. PA will be limited to those facilities that are Medicare-approved for kidney transplantation. (Approved centers can be found at
  2. Patients must have a diagnosis of type I diabetes:
    • Patient with diabetes must be beta cell autoantibody positive; or
    • Patient must demonstrate insulinopenia defined as a fasting C-peptide level that is less than or equal to 110% of the lower limit of normal of the laboratory's measurement method. Fasting C-peptide levels will only be considered valid with a concurrently obtained fasting glucose ≤ 225 mg/dL;
  3. Patients must have a history of medically-uncontrollable labile (brittle) insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus with documented recurrent, severe, acutely life-threatening metabolic complications that require hospitalization. Aforementioned complications include frequent hypoglycemia unawareness or recurring severe ketoacidosis, or recurring severe hypoglycemic attacks;
  4. Patients must have been optimally and intensively managed by an endocrinologist for at least 12 months with the most medically-recognized advanced insulin formulations and delivery systems;
  5. Patients must have the emotional and mental capacity to understand the significant risks associated with surgery and to effectively manage the lifelong need for immunosuppression; and,
  6. Patients must otherwise be a suitable candidate for transplantation.

C. Nationally Non-Covered Indications

The following procedure is not considered reasonable and necessary within the meaning of section 1862(a)(1)(A) of the Social Security Act:

  1. Transplantation of partial pancreatic tissue or islet cells (except in the context of a clinical trial (see section 260.3.1 of the National Coverage Determinations Manual ).

D. Other

Not applicable.

(This NCD last reviewed April 2006.)

Cross Reference
Claims Processing Instructions

Transmittal Information

Transmittal Number
Revision History

05/2006 - Pancreas transplants alone are covered under Medicare in limited circumstances. Effective date 04/26/2006. Implementation date for Carriers no later than 07/03/2006. Effective date for FI's 10/02/2006. (TN 56) (CR 5093)

07/2004 - Covered costs of transplantation of pancreatic islet cell, but only in context of an NIH-sponsored clinical trial. Effective date 10/01/2004. Implementation date 10/04/2004. (TN 18) (CR 3385)

04/2000 - Corrected ICD-9-CM code from 52.83 to 52.82, and deleted reference to 36-month period of entitlement. Effective and implementation dates 10/01/2000. (TN 124) (CR 1132)

08/1999 - Removed requirement that procedure must be performed simultaneously with or after a Medicare covered kidney transplant. Effective and implementation dates 07/01/1999. (TN 119) (CR 929)

04/1999 - Specified that procedure only covered when performed simultaneously with or after a Medicare covered kidney transplant. Noncoverage of procedure continues for patients who have not experienced end stage renal failure secondary to diabetes. Effective date 07/01/1999. (TN 115) (CR 818)


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
Pancreas Transplants 3 04/26/2006 - N/A You are here
Pancreas Transplants 2 10/01/2004 - 04/26/2006 View
Pancreas Transplants 1 07/01/1999 - 10/01/2004 View
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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.