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Medicare Manual Wheelchair LCD Coverage

A manual wheelchair for use inside the home (E1037 – E1039, E1161, K0001 – K0009) is covered if:

  • Criteria 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 are met; and
  • Criterion 6 or 7 is met.
  1. The beneficiary has a mobility limitation that significantly impairs his/her ability to participate in one or more mobility-related activities of daily living (MRADLs) such as toileting, feeding, dressing, grooming, and bathing in customary locations in the home. A mobility limitation is one that:
    • Prevents the beneficiary from accomplishing an MRADL entirely, or
    • Places the beneficiary at reasonably determined heightened risk of morbidity or mortality secondary to the attempts to perform an MRADL; or
    • Prevents the beneficiary from completing an MRADL within a reasonable time frame.
  2. The beneficiary’s mobility limitation cannot be sufficiently resolved by the use of an appropriately fitted cane or walker.
  3. The beneficiary’s home provides adequate access between rooms, maneuvering space, and surfaces for use of the manual wheelchair that is provided.
  4. Use of a manual wheelchair will significantly improve the beneficiary’s ability to participate in MRADLs and the beneficiary will use it on a regular basis in the home.
  5. The beneficiary has not expressed an unwillingness to use the manual wheelchair that is provided in the home.
  6. The beneficiary has sufficient upper extremity function and other physical and mental capabilities needed to safely self-propel the manual wheelchair that is provided in the home during a typical day. Limitations of strength, endurance, range of motion, or coordination, presence of pain, or deformity or absence of one or both upper extremities are relevant to the assessment of upper extremity function.
    OR
  7. The beneficiary has a caregiver who is available, willing, and able to provide assistance with the wheelchair.

MANUAL WHEELCHAIR LCD CRITERIA

ADDITIONAL CRITERIA FOR SPECIFIC MANUAL WHEELCHAIRS (E1037, E1038, E1039, E1161, K0002 – K0008)

In addition to the general manual wheelchair criteria above, the specific criteria below must be met for each manual wheelchair. If the specific criteria are not met, the manual wheelchair will be denied as not reasonable and necessary.

A transport chair (E1037, E1038 or E1039) is covered as an alternative to a standard manual wheelchair (K0001) and if basic coverage criteria A-E and G above are met.

A standard hemi-wheelchair (K0002) is covered when the beneficiary requires a lower seat height (17″ to 18″) because of short stature or to enable the beneficiary to place his/her feet on the ground for propulsion.

A lightweight wheelchair (K0003) is covered when a beneficiary meets both criteria (1) and (2):

  1. Cannot self-propel in a standard wheelchair in the home; and
  2. The beneficiary can and does self-propel in a lightweight wheelchair.

A high strength lightweight wheelchair (K0004) is covered when a beneficiary meets the criteria in (1) or (2):

  1. The beneficiary self-propels the wheelchair while engaging in frequent activities in the home that cannot be performed in a standard or lightweight wheelchair.
  2. The beneficiary requires a seat width, depth, or height that cannot be accommodated in a standard, lightweight or hemi-wheelchair, and spends at least two hours per day in the wheelchair.

A high strength lightweight wheelchair is rarely reasonable and necessary if the expected duration of need is less than three months (e.g., post-operative recovery).

An ultra lightweight manual wheelchair (K0005) is covered for a beneficiary if criteria (1) or (2) is met and (3) and (4) are met:

  1. The beneficiary must be a full-time manual wheelchair user.
  2. The beneficiary must require individualized fitting and adjustments for one or more features such as, but not limited to, axle configuration, wheel camber, or seat and back angles, and which cannot be accommodated by a K0001 through K0004 manual wheelchair.
  3. The beneficiary must have a specialty evaluation that was performed by a licensed/certified medical professional (LCMP), such as a PT or OT, or physician who has specific training and experience in rehabilitation wheelchair evaluations and that documents the medical necessity for the wheelchair and its special features (see Documentation Requirements section). The LCMP may have no financial relationship with the supplier.
  4. The wheelchair is provided by a Rehabilitative Technology Supplier (RTS) that employs a RESNA-certified Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) who specializes in wheelchairs and who has direct, in-person involvement in the wheelchair selection for the patient.

A heavy duty wheelchair (K0006) is covered if the beneficiary weighs more than 250 pounds or the beneficiary has severe spasticity.

An extra heavy duty wheelchair (K0007) is covered if the beneficiary weighs more than 300 pounds.

A manual wheelchair with tilt in space (E1161) is covered if the beneficiary meets the general coverage criteria for a manual wheelchair above, and if criteria (1) and (2) are met:

  1. The beneficiary must have a specialty evaluation that was performed by a licensed/certified medical professional (LCMP), such as a PT or OT, or physician who has specific training and experience in rehabilitation wheelchair evaluations and that documents the medical necessity for the wheelchair and its special features (see Documentation Requirements section). The LCMP may have no financial relationship with the supplier.
  2. The wheelchair is provided by a Rehabilitative Technology Supplier (RTS) that employs a RESNA-certified Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) who specializes in wheelchairs and who has direct, in-person involvement in the wheelchair selection for the patient.

A custom manual wheelchair base (K0008) is covered if, in addition to the general coverage criteria above, the specific configuration required to address the beneficiary’s physical and/or functional deficits cannot be met using one of the standard manual wheelchair bases plus an appropriate combination of wheelchair seating systems, cushions, options or accessories (prefabricated or custom fabricated), such that the individual construction of a unique individual manual wheelchair base is required.

If K0008 is used to describe a prefabricated manual wheelchair base, even one that has been modified in any fashion, the claim will be denied for incorrect coding. Refer to the CODING GUIDELINES section of the related Policy Article for additional information about correct coding of K0008.

A custom manual wheelchair is not reasonable and necessary if the expected duration of need is less than three months (e.g., post-operative recovery).

If the manual wheelchair will be used inside the home and the coverage criteria are not met, it will be denied as not reasonable and necessary.

If the manual wheelchair will only be used outside the home, see NONMEDICAL NECESSITY COVERAGE AND PAYMENT RULES section of the related Policy Article for information concerning statutory coverage requirements.

If the manual wheelchair base is not covered, then related accessories will be denied as not reasonable and necessary.

MISCELLANEOUS

Payment is made for only one wheelchair at a time. Backup chairs are denied as not reasonable and necessary.

One month’s rental for a standard manual wheelchair (K0001) is covered if a beneficiary-owned wheelchair is being repaired.