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Medicare Power Mobility Devices LCD Coverage

Power Mobility Device bases require a 7-element order. Refer to this LCD’s related Policy Article for this statutory requirement. Other separately billable wheelchair options and accessories require a detailed product description (DPD). Refer to the documentation requirements section of the Wheelchair Options and Accessories LCD for information about the DPD.

For some items in this policy to be covered by Medicare, a written order prior to delivery (WOPD) is required. Refer to the DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENTS section of this LCD and to the NON-MEDICAL NECESSITY COVERAGE AND PAYMENT RULES section of the related Policy Article for information about WOPD prescription requirements.

Refer to this related Policy Article for information on the face-to-face examination.

The term power mobility device (PMD) includes power operated vehicles (POVs) and power wheelchairs (PWCs).

GENERAL COVERAGE CRITERIA:

All of the following basic criteria (A-C) must be met for a power mobility device (K0800-K0898) or a push-rim activated power assist device (E0986) to be covered. Additional coverage criteria for specific devices are listed below.

A) 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.

B) The beneficiary’s mobility limitation cannot be sufficiently and safely resolved by the use of an appropriately fitted cane or walker.

C) The beneficiary does not have sufficient upper extremity function to self-propel an optimally-configured manual wheelchair in the home to perform MRADLs 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.
  • An optimally-configured manual wheelchair is one with an appropriate wheelbase, device weight, seating options, and other appropriate nonpowered accessories.

POWER OPERATED VEHICLES (K0800-K0808, K0812): SCOOTERS

A POV is covered if all of the basic coverage criteria (A-C) have been met and if criteria D-I are also met.

D) The beneficiary is able to:

  • Safely transfer to and from a POV, and
  • Operate the tiller steering system, and
  • Maintain postural stability and position while operating the POV in the home.

E) The beneficiary’s mental capabilities (e.g., cognition, judgment) and physical capabilities (e.g., vision) are sufficient for safe mobility using a POV in the home.

F) The beneficiary’s home provides adequate access between rooms, maneuvering space, and surfaces for the operation of the POV that is provided.

G) The beneficiary’s weight is less than or equal to the weight capacity of the POV that is provided and greater than or equal to 95% of the weight capacity of the next lower weight class POV – i.e., a Heavy Duty POV is covered for a beneficiary weighing 285 – 450 pounds; a Very Heavy Duty POV is covered for a beneficiary weighing 428 – 600 pounds.

H) Use of a POV will significantly improve the beneficiary’s ability to participate in MRADLs and the beneficiary will use it in the home.

I) he beneficiary has not expressed an unwillingness to use a POV in the home.

If a POV will be used inside the home and coverage criteria A-I are not met, it will be denied as not reasonable and necessary.

Group 2 POVs (K0806-K0808) have added capabilities that are not needed for use in the home. Therefore, if a Group 2 POV is provided it will be denied as not reasonable and necessary.

If a POV will only be used outside the home, see related Policy Article for information concerning noncoverage.

POWER WHEELCHAIRS (K0013, K0813-K0891, K0898):

A power wheelchair is covered if:

  1. All of the basic coverage criteria (A-C) are met; and
  2. The beneficiary does not meet coverage criterion D, E, or F for a POV; and
  3. Either criterion J or K is met; and
  4. Criteria L, M, N, and O are met; and
  5. Any coverage criteria pertaining to the specific wheelchair type (see below) are met.

J) The beneficiary has the mental and physical capabilities to safely operate the power wheelchair that is provided; or

K) If the beneficiary is unable to safely operate the power wheelchair, the beneficiary has a caregiver who is unable to adequately propel an optimally configured manual wheelchair, but is available, willing, and able to safely operate the power wheelchair that is provided; and

L) The beneficiary’s weight is less than or equal to the weight capacity of the power wheelchair that is provided and greater than or equal to 95% of the weight capacity of the next lower weight class PWC – i.e., a Heavy Duty PWC is covered for a beneficiary weighing 285 – 450 pounds; a Very Heavy Duty PWC is covered for a beneficiary weighing 428 – 600 pounds; an Extra Heavy Duty PWC is covered for a beneficiary weighing 570 pounds or more.

M) The beneficiary’s home provides adequate access between rooms, maneuvering space, and surfaces for the operation of the power wheelchair that is provided.

N) Use of a power wheelchair will significantly improve the beneficiary’s ability to participate in MRADLs and the beneficiary will use it in the home. For beneficiaries with severe cognitive and/or physical impairments, participation in MRADLs may require the assistance of a caregiver.

O) The beneficiary has not expressed an unwillingness to use a power wheelchair in the home.

If a PWC will be used inside the home and if coverage criteria (a)-(e) are not met, it will be denied as not reasonable and necessary.

If a PWC will only be used outside the home, see related Policy Article for information concerning noncoverage.

ADDITIONAL CRITERIA FOR SPECIFIC TYPES OF POWER WHEELCHAIRS:

  1. A Group 1 PWC (K0813-K0816) or a Group 2 PWC (K0820-K0829) is covered if all of the coverage criteria (a)-(e) for a PWC are met and the wheelchair is appropriate for the beneficiary’s weight.
  2. A Group 2 Single Power Option PWC (K0835 – K0840) is covered if all of the coverage criteria (a)-(e) for a PWC are met and if:
    1. Criterion 1 or 2 is met; and
    2. Criteria 3 and 4 are met.
      1. The beneficiary requires a drive control interface other than a hand or chin-operated standard proportional joystick (examples include but are not limited to head control, sip and puff, switch control).
      2. The beneficiary meets coverage criteria for a power tilt or a power recline seating system (see Wheelchair Options and Accessories policy for coverage criteria) and the system is being used on the wheelchair.
      3. The beneficiary has had a specialty evaluation that was performed by a licensed/certified medical professional, such as a physical therapist (PT) or occupational therapist (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 PT, OT, or physician may have no financial relationship with the supplier.
      4. The wheelchair is provided by a supplier 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 beneficiary.

If a Group 2 Single Power Option PWC is provided and if criterion II(A) or II(B) is not met (including but not limited to situations in which it is only provided to accommodate a power seat elevation feature, a power standing feature, or power elevating legrests), it will be denied as not reasonable and necessary.

A Group 2 Multiple Power Option PWC (K0841-K0843) is covered if all of the coverage criteria (a)-(e) for a PWC are met and if:

A) Criterion 1 or 2 is met; and
B) Criteria 3 and 4 are met.

  1. The beneficiary meets coverage criteria for a power tilt and recline seating system (see Wheelchair Options and Accessories policy) and the system is being used on the wheelchair.
  2. The beneficiary uses a ventilator which is mounted on the wheelchair.
  3. The beneficiary has had a specialty evaluation that was performed by a licensed/certified medical professional, 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 PT, OT, or physician may have no financial relationship with the supplier.
  4. The wheelchair is provided by a supplier 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 beneficiary.

If a Group 2 Multiple Power Option PWC is provided and if criterion III(A) or III(B) is not met, it will be denied as not reasonable and necessary.

A Group 3 PWC with no power options (K0848-K0855) is covered if:

  1. All of the coverage criteria (a)-(e) for a PWC are met; and
  2. The beneficiary’s mobility limitation is due to a neurological condition, myopathy, or congenital skeletal deformity; and
  3. The beneficiary has had a specialty evaluation that was performed by a licensed/certified medical professional, 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 PT, OT, or physician may have no financial relationship with the supplier; and
  4. The wheelchair is provided by a supplier 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 beneficiary.

If a Group 3 PWC is provided and if criteria (IV)(A) – (IV)(D) are not met, it will be denied as not reasonable and necessary.

A Group 3 PWC with Single Power Option (K0856-K0860) or with Multiple Power Options (K0861-K0864) is covered if:

  1. The Group 3 criteria IV(A) and IV(B) are met; and
  2. The Group 2 Single Power Option (criteria II[A] and II[B]) or Multiple Power Options (criteria III[A] and III[B]) (respectively) are met.

If a Group 3 Single Power Option or Multiple Power Options PWC is provided and if criterion V(A) or (V)(B) is not met, it will be denied as not reasonable and necessary.

Group 4 PWCs (K0868-K0886) have added capabilities that are not needed for use in the home. Therefore, if these wheelchairs are provided they will be denied as not reasonable and necessary.

A Group 5 (Pediatric) PWC with Single Power Option (K0890) or with Multiple Power Options (K0891) is covered if:

  1. All the coverage criteria (a)-(e) for a PWC are met; and
  2. The beneficiary is expected to grow in height; and
  3. The Group 2 Single Power Option (criteria II[A] and II[B]) or Multiple Power Options (criteria III[A] and III[B]) (respectively) are met.

If a Group 5 PWC is provided and if criteria (VII)(A) – (VII)(C) are not met, it will be denied as not reasonable and necessary.

A push-rim activated power assist device (E0986) for a manual wheelchair is covered if all of the following criteria are met:

  1. All of the criteria for a power mobility device listed in the Basic Coverage Criteria section are met; and
  2. The beneficiary has been self-propelling in a manual wheelchair for at least one year; and
  3. The beneficiary has had a specialty evaluation that was performed by a licensed/certified medical professional, such as a PT or OT, or physician who has specific training and experience in rehabilitation wheelchair evaluations and that documents the need for the device in the beneficiary’s home. The PT, OT, or physician may have no financial relationship with the supplier; and
  4. The wheelchair is provided by a supplier 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 beneficiary.

If all of the coverage criteria are not met, it will be denied as not reasonable and necessary.

A custom motorized/power wheelchair base (K0013) will be covered if:

  1. The beneficiary meets the general coverage criteria for a power wheelchair; and
  2. The specific configurational needs of the beneficiary are not able to be met using wheelchair cushions, or options or accessories (prefabricated or custom fabricated), which may be added to another power wheelchair base.

If coverage criterion 1 for K0013 is not met, the claim will be denied as not reasonable and necessary.

If coverage criterion 2 for K0013 is not met, the claim will be denied for incorrect coding (see related Policy Article for additional information).

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

If the PWC base is not covered, then related accessories will be denied.

MISCELLANEOUS:

A POV or power wheelchair with Captain’s Chair is not appropriate for a beneficiary who needs a separate wheelchair seat and/or back cushion. If a skin protection and/or positioning seat or back cushion that meets coverage criteria (see Wheelchair Seating LCD) is provided with a POV or a power wheelchair with Captain’s Chair, the POV or PWC will be denied as not reasonable and necessary. (Refer to Wheelchair Seating LCD and Policy Article for information concerning coverage of general use, skin protection, or positioning cushions when they are provided with a POV or power wheelchair with Captain’s Chair.)

For beneficiaries who do not have special skin protection or positioning needs, a power wheelchair with Captain’s Chair provides appropriate support. Therefore, if a general use cushion is provided with a power wheelchair with a sling/solid seat/back instead of Captain’s Chair, the wheelchair and the cushion(s) will be covered only if either criterion 1 or criterion 2 is met:

  1. The cushion is provided with a covered power wheelchair base that is not available in a Captain’s Chair model – i.e., codes K0839, K0840, K0843, K0860 – K0864, K0870, K0871, K0879, K0880, K0886, K0890, K0891; or
  2. A skin protection and/or positioning seat or back cushion that meets coverage criteria is provided.

If one of these criteria is not met, both the power wheelchair with a sling/solid seat and the general use cushion will be denied as not reasonable and necessary.

If a heavy duty, very heavy duty, or extra heavy duty PWC or POV is provided and if the beneficiary’s weight is outside the range listed in criterion G or L above (i.e., for heavy duty – 285 – 400 pounds, for very heavy duty – 428 – 600 pounds, for extra heavy duty – 570 pounds or more), it will be denied as not reasonable and necessary.

Refer to the related Policy Article for information concerning coverage of Group 2 PWCs with seat elevators (K0830, K0831).

The delivery of the PMD must be within 120 days following completion of the face-to face examination. (Exception: For PWCs that go through the Advance Determination of Medicare Coverage (ADMC) process and receive an affirmative determination, the delivery must be within 6 months following the determination.)

An add-on to convert a manual wheelchair to a joystick-controlled power mobility device (E0983) or to a tiller-controlled power mobility device (E0984) will be denied as not reasonable and necessary.

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

One month’s rental of a PWC or POV (K0462) is covered if a beneficiary-owned wheelchair is being repaired. Payment is based on the type of replacement device that is provided but will not exceed the rental allowance for the power mobility device that is being repaired.

A power mobility device will be denied as not reasonable and necessary if the underlying condition is reversible and the length of need is less than 3 months (e.g., following lower extremity surgery which limits ambulation).

A POV or PWC which has not been reviewed by the Pricing, Data Analysis, and Coding (PDAC) contractor or which has been reviewed by the PDAC and found not to meet the definition of a specific POV/PWC will be denied as not reasonable and necessary and should be coded as K0899.