National Coverage Determination (NCD)

Electrical Stimulation for the Treatment of Wounds


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Tracking Information

Publication Number
Manual Section Number
Manual Section Title
Electrical Stimulation for the Treatment of Wounds
Version Number
Effective Date of this Version
Ending Effective Date of this Version

Description Information

Benefit Category
Incident to a physician's professional Service
Outpatient Physical Therapy Services
Physicians' Services

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

Item/Service Description

Electrical stimulation (ES) has been used or studied for many different applications, one of which is accelerating wound healing. The types of ES used for healing chronic venous and arterial wound and pressure ulcers are direct current (DC), alternating current (AC), pulsed current (PC), pulsed electromagnetic induction (PEMI), and spinal cord stimulation (SCS). An example of AC is transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS). The PEMI includes Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) and Pulsed Electromagnetic Energy (PEE) using pulsed radio frequency energy, both of which are nonthermal i.e., they do not produce heat. Some ES use generators to create energy in the means such as coils, rather than by leads or surface electrodes.

Indications and Limitations of Coverage

There is insufficient evidence to determine any clinically significant differences in healing rates. Therefore, ES cannot be covered by Medicare because its effectiveness has not been adequately demonstrated.

Transmittal Information

Transmittal Number
Revision History

04/1997 - Provided noncoverage policy. Effective date 05/14/1997. (TN 95)

05/1997 - Corrected pagination error. Effective date NA. (TN 98)

05/1997 - Changed effective date for TN 95 to 07/14/1997. Effective date 07/14/1997. (TN 100)

12/1997 - Suspended implementation of national coverage policy due to court decision in Aitken v Shalala. As a result of the court’s decision, CMS and its agents ordered to return to case-by-case evaluation regarding necessity and reasonableness of treatments. Includes all claims for services performed after July 14, 1997. (PM B-97-11)

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.

Additional Information

Other Versions
Title Version Effective Between
Electrical Stimulation (ES) and Electromagnetic Therapy for the Treatment of Wounds 3 07/01/2004 - N/A View
Electrical Stimulation for the Treatment of Wounds 2 04/01/2003 - 07/01/2004 View
Electrical Stimulation for the Treatment of Wounds 1 07/14/1997 - 04/01/2003 You are here