First Coast New Wound Care LCD
Lessons to Learn
If your life is not hectic, I want to know where you live and how you manage that! In today’s busy world, as most of us balance numerous responsibilities at work and at home, we have to be able to multi-task. It is a great feeling to be able to accomplish several things with one action. This article about Medicare coverage updates addresses multiple lessons to learn from one LCD.
Effective December 7, 2017, First Coast Service Options, the Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) for Jurisdiction N (JN) has a new LCD for Wound Care (L37166). As usual, with new LCDs, there is also an accompanying Article that reviews the comments received from the provider community in regards to the draft LCD and First Coast’s responses to those comments. Here are the lessons to be learned from the First Coast Wound Care LCD and Article:
- Requirements for coverage of wound care services
- Documentation necessary to support coverage of wound care services
- Importance of commenting on draft policies
- Importance of reading LCD comments
The LCD is lengthy and contains a lot of detailed information. This is a summary of some of the coverage highlights, so providers affected by this LCD should read it carefully for a complete understanding. Other than for palliative care covered in specific circumstances, Medicare coverage for wound care is contingent upon evidence that the wound is improving. Wound care must also include all applicable adjunctive measures as part of comprehensive wound management in order to be medically reasonable and necessary. Debridement is not covered when the wound is without devitalized, fibrotic, nonviable tissue, infection, necrosis, foreign matter, or if the wound has pink to red granulated tissue.
Also per the First Coast LCD, “the following services are considered to be not reasonable and necessary wound debridement services:
- Removal of necrotic tissue by cleansing or dry-to-dry or wet-to-dry dressing.
- Washing bacterial or fungal debris from lesions.
- Removal of secretions and coagulation serum from normal skin surrounding an ulcer.
- Dressing of small or superficial lesions.
- Paring or cutting of corns or non-plantar calluses.
- Incision and drainage of abscess including paronychia, trimming or debridement of mycotic nails, avulsion of nail plates, acne surgery, or destruction of warts.
- Removal of non-tissue integrated fibrin exudates, crusts, or other materials from a wound without removal of tissue does not meet the definition of any debridement code and may not be reported as such.”
Documentation has the same disclaimer as coverage – providers must read the entire LCD to understand all of the documentation requirements. Some key points to remember concerning documentation are that the documentation should include:
- The current status of the wound,
- A plan of care containing treatment goals and physician follow-up,
- Complicating factors for wound healing and the measures taken to control the complicating factors,
- An operative note or procedure note for the debridement services that among other requirements, describes the wound size and characteristics, the medical necessity for debridement, the level of tissue debrided, the material removed, the instrument used, goals and response to treatment, and follow-up instructions, and
- Evidence of the wound’s progress toward healing.
Commenting on Draft Policies
Medicare requires MACs provide a minimum comment period of 45 calendar days for draft LCDs and an additional 45-day notice period after final revisions based on the comments received before an LCD becomes effective. The comment period allows providers and the medical community to express their concerns and suggestions about the proposed LCD.
The benefit of reviewing and commenting on draft policies is twofold. Most importantly, the MAC may agree with your comments and revise the policy. Secondly, even if no changes are made, you become familiar with the policy and are better prepared when it is finalized. It is not unusual for the MAC to make revisions to a draft LCD based on comments. The following clarifications or revisions were some of the ones made by First Coast in response to the comments:
- Clarification is provided on judicious use and efficacy of wet-to-dry and dry-to-dry dressings.
- The limitations addressing ulcers which may arise after paring or cutting of corns or non-plantar calluses as not reasonable and necessary wound debridement services have been removed from the finalized LCD.
- Photographic documentation for wounds has been amended to suggestions for best practices in wound care. (instead of a requirement)
- The final LCD was amended to remove the reference about podiatrists.
- After consideration, some of the conditions which were referred to as dermatologic have been amended or removed.
Read LCD Comments
Do you ever read a coverage policy and wonder “what were they thinking?” The LCD Comments Article gives hints, at least on the issues addressed, as to what the MAC was thinking regarding the policy decisions. Here are a few examples from the First Coast Wound Care LCD Comments Article demonstrating this:
- The Contractor also recognizes studies show disposable Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) may be just as effective as the traditional NPWT, and it has been determined that there will be access to coverage for NPWT utilizing durable medical equipment or non-durable medical equipment in appropriately selected patients.
- Concerning the establishment of an appropriate non-skilled maintenance program: Medicare coverage is defined by reasonable and necessary criteria per Social Security Act section 1862 (a) 1(A). This statement is an expectation; it does not preclude a skilled maintenance program or palliative wound care when reasonable and necessary.
- Concerning the addition of biofilm or bioburden to Covered Indications for debridement: The contractor agrees that this statement is incorrect. There are active wound care management CPT® codes that reference removal of biofilm and may be reported for such debridement. Please reference CPT® and coding guidelines.
- Concerning frequency limitations for debridement of muscle/fascia or bone: Debridement codes involving fascia or bone would be expected to lessen over a period of time as the wound heals. Data analysis illustrates that a minority of beneficiaries receiving wound care actually receive more than five debridements involving muscle/fascia or bone in a rolling 360-day period. Debridements of an unusually prolonged or excessive number should be accompanied by meticulous documentation illustrating that the service is both medical necessary and reasonable.
Once again, I remind everyone in the JN jurisdiction to read the complete LCD for all information about coverage and documentation requirements. I also encourage reading the Comments Article for additional understanding of the MAC’s reasoning on certain points. For our readers in other jurisdictions, this would be a good time to review the wound care LCD that applies to your hospital. There are always lessons to be learned.
Here is a listing of all the Wound Care and Debridement local coverage policies.
|Policy ID #||Policy Name||MAC|
|L34032||Debridement Services||CGS Administrators, LLC|
|L33614||Debridement Services||National Government Services, Inc.|
|L34290||Surgery: Debridement Services||Cahaba Government Benefit Administrators®, LLC|
|L34199||Treatment of Ulcers & Symptomatic Hyperkeratoses||Noridian Healthcare Solutions, LLC|
|L34243||Treatment of Ulcers & Symptomatic Hyperkeratoses||Noridian Healthcare Solutions, LLC|
|L37166||Wound Care||First Coast Service Options, Inc.|
|L35125||Wound Care||Novitas Solutions, Inc.|
|L34587||Wound Care||Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation|
|L33566||Wound Debridement Services||First Coast Service Options, Inc.|
|A53001||Wound Care||Novitas Solutions, Inc.|
|A55818||Wound Care Coding Guidelines||First Coast Service Options, Inc.|
|A52765||Wound Care & Dressing Changes||Noridian Healthcare Solutions, LLC|
Other recent LCD and Article updates are listed below.
Article by Debbie Rubio
This material was compiled to share information. MMP, Inc. is not offering legal advice. Every reasonable effort has been taken to ensure the information is accurate and useful.