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Based upon authority to cover “additional preventive services” for Medicare beneficiaries if certain statutory requirements are met, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) initiated a new national coverage analysis on intensive behavioral therapy for obesity. Screening for obesity in adults is recommended with a grade of B by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and is appropriate for individuals entitled to benefits under Part A and Part B.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that “obesity rates in the U.S. have increased dramatically over the last 30 years, and obesity is now epidemic in the United States.” In the Medicare population over 30% of men and women are obese. Obesity is directly or indirectly associated with many chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal conditions and diabetes.
B. Nationally Covered Indications
Effective for claims with dates of service on or after November 29, 2011, CMS covers intensive behavioral therapy for obesity, defined as a body mass index (BMI) > 30 kg/m2, for the prevention or early detection of illness or disability.
Intensive behavioral therapy for obesity consists of the following:
The intensive behavioral intervention for obesity should be consistent with the 5-A framework that has been highlighted by the USPSTF:
For Medicare beneficiaries with obesity, who are competent and alert at the time that counseling is provided and whose counseling is furnished by a qualified primary care physician or other primary care practitioner and in a primary care setting, CMS covers:
At the six month visit, a reassessment of obesity and a determination of the amount of weight loss must be performed. To be eligible for additional face-to-face visits occurring once a month for an additional six months, beneficiaries must have achieved a reduction in weight of at least 3kg over the course of the first six months of intensive therapy. This determination must be documented in the physician office records for applicable beneficiaries consistent with usual practice. For beneficiaries who do not achieve a weight loss of at least 3kg during the first six months of intensive therapy, a reassessment of their readiness to change and BMI is appropriate after an additional six month period.
For the purposes of this decision memorandum, a primary care setting is defined as one in which there is provision of integrated, accessible health care services by clinicians who are accountable for addressing a large majority of personal health care needs, developing a sustained partnership with patients, and practicing in the context of family and community. Emergency departments, inpatient hospital settings, ambulatory surgical centers, independent diagnostic testing facilities, skilled nursing facilities, inpatient rehabilitation facilities and hospices are not considered primary care settings under this definition.
For the purposes of this decision memorandum a “primary care physician” and “primary care practitioner” will be defined consistent with existing sections of the Social Security Act (§1833(u)(6), §1833(x)(2)(A)(i)(I) and §1833(x)(2)(A)(i)(II)).
(6) Physician Defined.—For purposes of this paragraph, the term “physician” means a physician described in section 1861(r)(1) and the term “primary care physician” means a physician who is identified in the available data as a general practitioner, family practice practitioner, general internist, or obstetrician or gynecologist.
Primary care practitioner—The term “primary care practitioner” means an individual—
(I) is a physician (as described in section 1861(r)(1)) who has a primary specialty designation of family medicine, internal medicine, geriatric medicine, or pediatric medicine; or
(II) is a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, or physician assistant (as those terms are defined in section 1861(aa)(5))
C. Nationally Non-Covered Indications
All other indications remain non-covered.
Medicare coinsurance and Part B deductible are waived for this service
(This NCD last reviewed November 2011)
02/2012 - Effective for claims with dates of service November 29, 2011, and later, Medicare beneficiaries with obesity (BMI andNo.8805;30 kg/m2), who are competent and alert at the time that counseling is provided and whose counseling is furnished by a qualified primary care physician or other primary care practitioner in a primary care setting are eligible for: One face-to-face visit every week for the first month; One face-to-face visit every other week for months 2-6; One face-to-face visit every month for months 7-12. This revision to the Medicare National Coverage Determinations Manual is a national coverage determination (NCD). NCDs are binding on all carriers, fiscal intermediaries,[contractors with the Federal government that review and/or adjudicate claims, determinations, and/or decisions], quality improvement organizations, qualified independent contractors, the Medicare appeals council, and administrative law judges (ALJs) (see 42 CFR section 405.1060(a)(4) (2005)). An NCD that expands coverage is also binding on a Medicare advantage organization. In addition, an ALJ may not review an NCD. (See section 1869(f)(1)(A)(i) of the Social Security Act.) Effective Date: 11/29/2011. Implementation Date: 03/06/2012. (TN 142) (CR7641)
Medicare Policies and Guidelines - NCD, LCD, Articles, LMRP
Summary: Medicare Policies and Guidelines - NCD, LCD, Articles, LMRP
Keywords: Medicare Policies and Guidelines, NCD, LCD, LMRP, national coverage determinations, local coverage determinations, local medical review policies
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